Hepatitis G virus infection in the elderly

M. Sampietro, L. Caputo, N. Corbetta, G. Annoni, A. Ticozzi, G. Lunghi, A. Orlandi, C. Vergani, G. Fiorelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aims. At least 10% of post-transfusion and community-acquired hepatitis cases are not accounted for by the A to E viruses. Hepatitis G virus (HGV), a novel agent belonging to the Flaviviridae and distantly related to HCV has recently been identified. The epidemiology and clinical significance of this infection in the geriatric setting is still little known. Aim of the investigation was to assess the prevalence and clinical significance of HGV infection in the geriatric setting. Patients. 105 unselected consecutive patients (mean age 73.4 years). Methods. HGV-RNA was detected by a single-tube reverse-transcription heminested polymerase chain reaction with primers from the 5' untranslated region of the virus. Anti-HGV antibodies were detected with a commercial anti-E2 immunometric assay. Results. 3/105 patients (2.9%) were viraemic, without a history or clinical evidence of hepatitis. Anti-HGV antibodies were detected in 25 patients (23.8%), 40% of whom had associated anti-HCV antibodies. The presence of HGV-RNA and anti-HGV antibodies was mutually exclusive. Conclusions. HGV infection is highly prevalent in our population and the cumulative risk of exposure is proportional to age. In most cases, HGV infection is self-limiting and clinically irrelevant. Immunity against E2 or other associated uncharacterized viral epitopes appears to be protective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-527
Number of pages4
JournalItalian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Flaviviridae
  • Hepatitis G virus
  • HGV
  • Viral hepatitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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