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J Viral Hepat. 2000 May;7 Suppl 1:7-8.

Fulminant hepatitis associated with hepatitis A virus superinfection in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.


There have been conflicting reports of the clinical outcome of acute hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. A prospective study evaluated 432 patients with chronic hepatitis C (183 with cirrhosis) over a 7-year period. Of the 17 patients with concurrent HAV infection, seven developed fulminant hepatitis and six died. None of these patients had cirrhosis; however, the HLA phenotype (A1; B8:DR3) appeared to be a significant factor in the development of fulminant hepatitis. Patients with this phenotype had high titres of antinuclear antibodies, antismooth muscle antibodies and antiasialoglycoprotein-receptor antibodies, possibly reflecting the induction of autoimmune hepatitis in this group. The high frequency of fulminant hepatitis in patients with HAV/HCV coinfection contrasts with other surveys, although a large Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey demonstrated that HAV infection in patients with pre-existing chronic liver disease (CLD) is associated with increased mortality. It is likely that CLD has some importance as an underlying factor in the development of fulminant hepatitis following HAV infection. Further prospective studies are needed to clarify this issue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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