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Eur J Pediatr. 2008 Sep;167(9):991-4. Epub 2007 Oct 27.

The prevalence of GB virus C/hepatitis G virus RNA among healthy and HCV-infected Catalan children.

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Pediatrics Department, Agrupació Sanitària Hospital Clínic, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Universitat de Barcelona, Passeig Sant Joan de Déu, 2, 08950, Barcelona, Spain.


GB virus C (GBV-C) is a blood-borne flavivirus. The prevalence of GBV-C viremia among healthy adults is 0.5% to 4% and, to date, no disease has been definitely associated with GBV-C infection. We conducted a cross-sectional study to evaluate GBV-C viremia prevalence in a group of 327 healthy children with normal alanine amino transferase (ALT) levels (Group A) and elevated ALT levels (Group B) of unknown origin, and among 38 pediatric patients with mother-to-child-transmitted hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection (Group C). No statistically significant differences were observed between prevalences in Groups A and B (2.2% vs 6.7%, p = 0.06). None of the children in Groups A or B who tested positive for GBV-C RNA showed any clinical symptoms. The prevalence of GBV-C viremia in Group A was lower than for patients in Group C (2.2% vs 13.2%, p = 0.007); no differences were observed in HCV infection characteristics between those patients who were co-infected with GBV-C and those who were not. In conclusion, while GBV-C viremia is more frequent among HCV-infected pediatric patients, it is neither associated with liver disease nor has any influence on HCV-related chronic hepatitis.

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