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Transfusion. 1998 Mar;38(3):290-5.

Prevalence and infectivity of hepatitis G virus and its strain variant, the GB agent, in volunteer blood donors in Taiwan.

Author information

1
Department of Bacteriology and the Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Republic of China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The prevalence of hepatitis G virus (HGV) and its strain variant, the GB agent (GBV-C) is high in non-virus-inactivated plasma products, but, persistent infection in recipients is relatively low.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

Stored samples from transfusion donors and recipients in a prospective study of posttransfusion hepatitis were tested for HGV RNA and antibody to the E2 protein (anti-E2).

RESULTS:

Thirty-two (2.1%) of the 1500 qualified donors were positive for HGV RNA. Twenty-four persons had received a transfusion of blood from one of these 32 viremic donors. Of these 24 recipients, 3 were positive for HGV RNA before transfusion. Of the remaining 21 recipients, 8 became viremic after transfusion, while the other 13 were not infected. Four of the eight infected recipients were persistently positive for HGV RNA, while four became negative in 1 to 3 years. Three of the four patients with HGV clearance seroconverted to anti-E2 positivity. Comparison of the viral titer, viral sequences at E2, storage period of blood donations, and clinical data in the infected and noninfected recipients revealed no significant differences. However, the noninfected recipients seemed to have a higher prevalence of anti-E2 before transfusion.

CONCLUSION:

The prevalence of HGV viremia in volunteer blood donors in Taiwan is 2.1 percent, and blood from 0.6 percent of them actually causes HGV infection in the recipients. In half of infected recipients, clearance of HGV occurs. Anti-E2 appears in most recipients whose viremia is cleared.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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