A novel DNA virus designated TT virus (TTV) has been reported to be involved in the development of posttransfusion non-A-C hepatitis. We evaluated the frequency and natural course of TTV infection in a cohort of transfusion-dependent thalassemic patients in a 3-year follow-up study. Ninety-three serum hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody-negative patients (median age of 8 years; range, 0 to 25) from eight centers were studied. Of them, 34 (37%) had an abnormal alanine-aminotransferase (ALT) baseline pattern, and the other 12 (13%) showed ALT flare-ups during the follow-up. TTV DNA in patient sera collected at the time of enrollment and at the end of follow-up was determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In parallel, serum samples from 100 healthy blood donors were also tested. At baseline, 87 patient sera (93.5%) tested positive for the TTV DNA. Of these TTV DNA-positive patients, 84 (96.5%) remained viremic at the end of the study period. Of the 6 TTV DNA- negative patients, 3 acquired TTV infection during follow-up. However, no definite relation was observed between the results of TTV DNA determination and ALT patterns. TTV viremia was also detectable in 22% of blood donors. In conclusion, TTV infection is frequent and persistent among Italian transfusion-dependent patients. The high rate of viremia observed in healthy donors indicates that the parenteral route is not the only mode of TTV spread.
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 1 1999|
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