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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 73

Intrafamilial transmission of hepatitis C virus

1 Department of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Diyarbakir, Turkey
2 Department of Paediatrics, Diyarbakir, Turkey

Date of Submission12-May-2005
Date of Acceptance03-Mar-2006

Correspondence Address:
M K Celen
Department of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Diyarbakir
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.31072

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How to cite this article:
Celen M K, Ayaz C, Dikici B, Hosoglu S, Geyik M F. Intrafamilial transmission of hepatitis C virus. Indian J Med Microbiol 2007;25:73

How to cite this URL:
Celen M K, Ayaz C, Dikici B, Hosoglu S, Geyik M F. Intrafamilial transmission of hepatitis C virus. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2007 [cited 2020 Dec 5];25:73. Available from:

Dear Editor,

The chronic viral hepatitis caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the most important health issues of today. Nearly 200 million people are infected with HCV all over the world.[1] Epidemiological research indicates that the most important transmission route of the disease is by parenteral means, which can be incurred by transfusion of blood or blood products, intravenous drug use, occupational injuries by needles or conjunctival transmission, hemodialysis and organ transplantation.[2]

Sixty-five index cases with chronic hepatitis C infection and their 264 family contacts were studied in order to determine the risk factors associated with HCV in the intrafamilial transmission in our study. Of the family contacts, 49 were spouses and the other members were mother, father, siblings and children. The anti-HCV frequency was found to be 4.1% in spouses and 1.5% in the remaining family members. In the national studies, it was reported that the rate of transmission to spouses is around 7%.[3] It is already known that sexual, vertical or horizontal route is responsible from the intrafamilial transmission of HCV. In the studies of sexual and other intrafamilial contacts of the virus infected cases, it was found that HCV infection rate was higher in spouses than in the non-sexual contacts.[4] Several studies have shown that the rate of transmission from HCV infected index cases increases for spouses as the duration of exposure is prolonged. It was concluded that in marriages exceeding 15 years, this rate would be much higher.[5] In the present study, the four anti-HCV positive contacts included two spouses. The marital status of both positive-spouses was up to more than 30 years.

The duration of exposure for anti-HCV positive spouses with the index cases was significantly higher than anti-HCV negative spouses ( P =0,021). The anti-HCV rates between the whole family members of index group and the healthy blood donor group were similar (1.66%). Therefore, it can be concluded that the intrafamilial transmission rate of HCV is similar to the rate of transmission in healthy subjects. However, the duration of exposure with anti-HCV positive index cases is a significant risk factor particularly for spouses in the intrafamilial transmission.

 ~ References Top

1.Tong MJ, El-Farra NS, Reikes AR, Co RL. Clinical outcomes after transfusion-associated hepatitis C. N Engl J Med 1995; 332 :1463-6.   Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
2.Hosoglu S, Celen MK, Akalin S, Geyik MF, Soyoral Y, Kara IH. Transmission of hepatitis C by blood splash into conjunctiva in a nurse. Am J Infect Control 2003; 31: 502-4.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
3.Saltoπlu N, Taşova Y, Burgut R, Dündar IH. Sexual and non-sexual intrafamilial spread of hepatitis C virus: Intrafamilial transmission of HCV. Eur J Epidemiol 1998; 14 :225-8.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Thomas DL, Zenilman JM, Alter HJ, Shih JW, Galai N, Carella AV, et al . Sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus among patients attending sexually transmitted diseases Clinics in Baltimore. An analysis of 309 sex partnership. J Infect Dis 1995; 171 :768-75.   Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Kao JH, Hwang YT, Chen PJ, Yang PM, Lai MY, Wang TH, et al . Transmission of hepatitis C virus between spouses: The important role of exposure duration. Am J Gastroenterol 1996; 91 :2087-90.  Back to cited text no. 5    

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