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Eur J Pediatr. 1992 Aug;151(8):573-6.

Hepatitis C virus antibodies in a long-term follow-up of beta-thalassaemic children with acute and chronic non-A non-B hepatitis.

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Departement of Paediatrics, University of Florence, Ospedale Meyer, Italy.


The presence of antibodies toward hepatitis C virus (HCV) was examined in 78 polytransfused beta-thalassaemic children. The anti-HCV status was correlated with acute and chronic non-A non-B (NANB) hepatitis that developed during a follow up of about 13 years. Anti-HCV was present in 83.3% of children with acute NANB hepatitis and in 82.9% of those with chronic NANB hepatitis. The percentage of chronic evolution was 56.7% for acute anti-HCV positive NANB hepatitis and 50.0% for anti-HCV negative NANB hepatitis. The long-term persistence of anti-HCV antibodies did not correlate with chronic evolution of liver infection in thalassaemic patients. Histological features of chronic hepatitis showed little or no difference between HCV associated or non-associated liver disease. The multifactorial liver injury in beta-thalassaemic children explains the high prevalence of cirrhosis (about 30%) observed in these patients with NANB hepatitis. On the other hand, independent of liver disease, some patients never seroconverted during the follow up in spite of the high number of transfusions suggesting the existence of "non-responders".

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