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Vox Sang. 2000;79(3):138-44.

Hepatitis C virus: routes of infection and genotypes in a cohort of anti-HCV-positive French blood donors.

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  • 1Etablissement de Transfusion Sanguine de l'Ouest Francilien, Rungis, France.



We evaluated and analysed risk factors of HCV-infected blood donors according to HCV genotypes in order to improve the transfusion policy and safety of blood supply.


HCV-RNA was analysed in sera from 518 anti-HCV-positive blood donors, who were invited to medical consultation and interview as to risk factors by means of an extensive questionnaire. HCV genotyping was done on all samples positive for HCV-RNA.


Of the 518 sera, 399 (77%) were HCV-RNA positive, and 394 of 399 HCV genotypes were identified. Major genotypes were 1b (34.3%), 3a (24%), 1a (19.5%) and 2 (11.4%). Of the donors, 289 (55.8%) were interviewed regarding their risk behaviour: 27% were former intravenous drug users (IVDUs), 26% had been transfused, 8% had a history of invasive diagnostic procedures, and 13% a history of surgery. Among the 224 interviewed donors, genotypes 1a and 3a were mainly associated with IVDU (51 and 45% respectively) and genotype 1b, with transfusion and nosocomial infections (40 and 25%, respectively).


In this population of anti-HCV-positive blood donors, nosocomial infection may be a route of HCV spread, but the main risk factor remains IVDU, particularly in young men. The transfusion policy will improve if predonation interviews of such young men are done with a specific and sensitive questionnaire.

Copyright 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel

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