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J Med Case Rep. 2007 Dec 4;1:169.

Recurrence of hepatitis C virus during leucocytopenia and spontaneous clearance after recovery from cytopenia: a case report.

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Medical Department II, Klinikum GroƟhadern Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.



There is little information about the risk of HCV recurrence in immunosuppressed patients. Although the presence of antibodies to HCV and the absence of HCV-RNA is usually considered to indicate viral elimination, the virus may not be completely eliminated but may be under control of an effective immune response.


A 69 year old man presented with jaundice, elevated ALT, AST, lipase and concomitant abdominal pain. He was found to be positive for HCV-RNA (genotype 3a) and was diagnosed with acute hepatitis C. Six weeks later no HCV-RNA was detected, and the patient was diagnosed with hyperthyreosis and started on propylthiouracil. After 4 weeks of propylthiouracil treatment, the patient developed leucocytopenia, followed by liver function deterioration and reappearance of HCV-RNA. Propylthiouracil was discontinued and his leukocyte counts increased. Twenty-eight weeks after onset of acute hepatitis C, no HCV-RNA was detected.


This case history shows the risk of recurrence of HCV during leucocytopenia. These findings indicate that patients who are anti-HCV positive but HCV-RNA negative may be at risk of cytopenia-induced HCV reactivation.

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