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Year : 1995  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 5-14

Hepatitis C : a review with particular reference to the Indian scenario

Department of Microbiology & Virology christian Medical College & Hospital, Vellore 632 004, Tamil Nadu

Correspondence Address:
P Abraham
Department of Microbiology & Virology christian Medical College & Hospital, Vellore 632 004, Tamil Nadu

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is usually transmitted parenterally. It accounts for 75 percent-90 percent of post transfusion non-A, non-B hepatitis (PTNANBH) cases in centres where only Hepatitis B virus-free blood is transfused. Sexual and vertical transmission of HCV also occurs. In nearly 50 percent of patients with acute HCV hepatitis, the mode of transmission is still not known. The identification of HCV was based exclusively on molecular biological techniques. The HCV genome bears similarity to Flaviviridae and shows some heterogeneity. Physico-chemical properties of this virus suggest that it is enveloped and of a size of 30-60 nm. The incubation period if HCV hepatitis infection is 6-12 weeks, with a mode of 7 to 8 weeks. The onset of acute hepatitis is usually insiduous and the course of illness usually mild, but more than 50 percent develop chronic infection. the spectrum of consequences of chronic infection range from no clinical disease to chronic hepatitis (chronic active or chronic persistent), cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Early laboratory diagnosis of HCV can be made using the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to detect HCVRNA in serum. with the onset of clinical illness, these is a moderate elevation of serum amino transferase levels which in chronic disease shows a typical fluctuating profile. Time of HCV seroconversion is variable, but antibodies may be detectable by the currently available second generation Enzyme immunoassay (EIA) 7-8 weeks after infection. the supplemental serological test to EIA is the recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA). treatment is primarily with alpha-interferon. The HCV carrier rate in our population appears to be low. In a preliminary study screening 2,700 blood bank donors in CMC hospital, Vellore, 0.48 percent were found to be HCV seropositive. HCV seropositivity among multi transfused patients (eg. haemophilias, renal transplant) patients ranges from 7.2 to 37.5 percent; among chronic liver disease patients it is 15 percent -80 percent; coinfection with HBV and HCV are not uncommon.

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2004 - Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow

Online since April 2001, new site since 1st August '04