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Am J Kidney Dis. 1998 Feb;31(2):224-6.

Prevalence of hepatitis C and G virus infection in chronic hemodialysis patients.

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1
Division of Hepatology, University of Miami School of Medicine and Veterans Administration Medical Center, FL 33125, USA. mednet.med.miami.edu.

Abstract

An RNA virus designated hepatitis G virus (HGV) has been recently identified in patients with acute and chronic liver disease. HGV is transfusion transmissible, it has global distribution, and it is present in the volunteer blood donor population in the United States. One hundred sixty patients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis at the University of Miami-affiliated unit were evaluated. There were 99 men and 61 women ranging in age from 22 to 80 years. Sixty percent had a history of blood transfusion, 6% had a history of drug abuse, and 9% were infected with the human immunodeficiency virus. HGV-RNA was detected by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction with amplification of two independent regions (5'-nontranslated region and NS5a coding region). Detection of digoxigenin-labeled amplification products with specific capture probes to the coding and noncoding regions was performed with the Enzymun-test DNA on an ES-300 Immunoassay System (Boehringer-Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany). Hepatitis C antibodies were measured with anti-hepatitis C virus enzyme-linked immunosorbent third-generation assays and hepatitis C virus RNA by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. There were 32 (20%) patients with detectable HGV RNA with both primer pairs. Because of possible mutations, the HGV virus may be detectable only with one primer pair. We considered the latter as indeterminate: 12 had detectable levels to the NS5a region only, seven to the 5'-nontranslated region, and six had borderline results. Detectable and indeterminate samples were confirmed by repeat measurements in a new blood sample. Seven of 24 (29%) patients with detectable hepatitis C virus RNA had coexisting HGV with one or both HGV primer pairs (four with both and three with one). Five patients were hepatitis B surface antigen positive and HGV negative. We conclude that HGV infection is prevalent in our dialysis patients. The clinical significance of HGV infection remains to be established.

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