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Gastroenterol Clin Biol. 1995 Feb;19(2):150-5.

[Familial transmission of hepatitis C virus].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Service d'Hépato-Gastroentérologie, Hôpital Saint-Eloi, Montpellier.



The intrafamilial transmission of hepatitis C virus infection was assessed in the family members of patients with chronic hepatitis C.


The presence of serum anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies and epidemiological features were studied in 193 relatives (104 heterosexual partners, 89 children) of 113 patients with chronic hepatitis C. The presence of serum anti-HCV antibodies was detected by an ELISA 2 test and confirmed by a RIBA 2 test. In all patients, liver injury was ascertained by biopsy (31 cirrhosis, 82 chronic active hepatitis).


Eleven of 104 (10.6%) regular heterosexual partners were positive for anti-HCV antibodies. In 8 of these, risk factors were detected (drug addiction: n = 6, blood transfusion: n = 1, occupational exposure: n = 1). Only 3 of 96 (3.2%) regular heterosexual partners without percutaneous risk factors were positive for HCV. Among couples with heterosexual partners negative for anti-HCV antibodies, the mean duration of the sexual relationship was 12 years. Serum anti-HCV antibodies were present in 1 of 89 (1.1%) children without history of blood transfusion or drug addiction. None of the 35 children born after supposed maternal contamination were positive for serum anti-HCV antibodies.


We conclude that the prevalence of serum anti-HCV antibodies, assessed with second generation tests, in sexual partners of patients with chronic hepatitis C, is lower than previously reported with first generation anti-HCV tests but higher than in the general population (3.2% vs approximately equal to 1%). Serum anti-HCV antibodies were very rarely detected in children from patients with chronic hepatitis C.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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