The incidence and natural course of transfusion-associated GB virus C/hepatitis G virus infection in a cohort of thalassemic patients

Daniele Prati, Alberto Zanella, Patrizia Bosoni, Paolo Rebulla, Elena Farma, Claudia De Mattei, Carmen Capelli, Fulvio Mozzi, Domenico Gallisai, Carmelo Magnano, Caterina Melevendi, Girolamo Sirchia

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Abstract

To evaluate the risk of transmitting blood-borne GB virus C/hepatitis G virus (GBV-C/HGV) and to define the natural course of infection, we performed a prospective study in a cohort of multitransfused β-thalassemics during a 6-year follow-up period. We analyzed serum samples of 150 patients collected at 3-year intervals from 1990 to 1996. GBV-C/HGV RNA was determined by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and antibodies to E2-protein by an enzyme immunoassay. At baseline, 14.5% of patients had viremia and 18.5% anti-E2. None of the patients with anti-E2 in 1990 subsequently became viremic. Of the 100 GBV-C/HGV RNA-, anti-E2- patients, 10 acquired infection during follow-up, as indicated by positivity of GBV-C/HGV RNA (n = 2), anti-E2 (n = 7), or both markers (n = 1) in 1996. The incidence was 1.7 per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.8 to 3). Since approximately 19,000 blood units were transfused to these patients during follow-up, the risk of infection was 5.3 in 10,000 units (95% CI, 2 to 8.5). Six of 22 viremic patients cleared the virus during follow-up; 4 of them became anti-E2+. Twelve of 28 patients lost anti-E2 reactivity during follow-up. In conclusion, more than 25% of infections resolve within 6 years; the presence of anti-E2 seems to be protective against infection. Anti-E2 reactivity may decrease with time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-777
Number of pages4
JournalBlood
Volume91
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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    Prati, D., Zanella, A., Bosoni, P., Rebulla, P., Farma, E., De Mattei, C., Capelli, C., Mozzi, F., Gallisai, D., Magnano, C., Melevendi, C., & Sirchia, G. (1998). The incidence and natural course of transfusion-associated GB virus C/hepatitis G virus infection in a cohort of thalassemic patients. Blood, 91(3), 774-777.