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Transfusion. 1998 Sep;38(9):821-7.

Exposure to GB virus type C or hepatitis G virus in selected Australian adult and children populations.

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1
Australian Red Cross Blood Service, Queensland, Brisbane.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The epidemiology and disease association for the GB virus type C (GBV-C) or hepatitis G virus (HGV) are poorly understood.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

This study describes the exposure rates to GBV-C/HGV in diverse Australian population groups by testing for current infection and evidence of past infection with a reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and an anti-E2 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively. Subjects included volunteer blood donors, hepatitis C antibody (anti-HCV)-positive donors, children, hemodialysis patients, pregnant women attending a prenatal clinic, injecting drug users (IVDUs), and adult hemophiliacs.

RESULTS:

Combined GBV-C RNA and E2 antibody prevalence was 6.5 percent (6/93) in children, 13.3 percent (75/565) in blood donors, 14 percent (14/99) in pregnant women, 22.5 percent (18/80) in hemodialysis patients, 80 percent (56/70) in anti-HCV-positive donors, 88.6 percent (31/35) in IVDUs, and 85.7 percent (54/63) in adult hemophiliacs. Children had the lowest antibody rate, 1.1 percent, whereas the rate was 10.8 percent for blood donors and rose to 45.7 percent for IVDUs, 57.1 percent for anti-HCV-positive donors, and 74.6 percent for hemophiliacs. In contrast, current infection rates were comparable for children, blood donors, and pregnant women (5.4, 2.6, and 6%, respectively), rising to 11.1 percent for hemophiliacs, 24.3 percent for anti-HCV-positive donors, and 48.6 percent for IVDUs. Ten of 12 blood donors had persistent viremia, while 2 had recent infections, 1 with apparent resolution.

CONCLUSION:

Exposure to GBV-C can commence at an early age, although ongoing exposure may also occur among adults with no apparent risk factors. GBV-C RNA positivity was not associated with abnormal plasma alanine aminotransferase levels among blood donors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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