GB virus-C/hepatitis G virus infection in an area endemic for viral hepatitis, chronic liver disease, and liver cancer
Kao, J.H.; Chen, P.J.; Lai, M.Y.; Chen, W.; Liu, D.P.; Wang, J.T.; Shen, M.C.; Chen, D.S.
Gastroenterology 112(4): 1265-1270
Background and Aims: GB virus-C/hepatitis G virus (GBV-C/HGV) is a newly identified flavivirus, and little is known about its clinical significance. GBV-C/HGV was investigated in different populations, and its coinfection was investigated in patients with liver disease in Taiwan where hepatitis B and C are endemic. Methods: Viral RNA was studied in 70 high-risk individuals, 20 patients with chronic non-B, non-C hepatitis, 13 with non-A-E fulminant hepatitis, 100 with asymptomatic hepatitis B surface antigen carriage, 120 with hepatitis B surface antigen-positive chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma, 100 patients with chronic hepatitis C, and 100 healthy adults. Results: GBV-C/HGV infection was more frequent in high-risk groups (15%-30%) and hepatitis C virus carriers (10%) than in healthy adults (1%) and hepatitis B virus carriers (3.2%). Eighty-three percent of those infected had undergone blood transfusions previously. The prevalence in hepatitis B virus carriers increased with the severity of liver disease, being 1% in asymptomatic carriers and 10% in hepatocellular carcinoma. In chronic hepatitis C, clinical and virological data were comparable between those with and without coinfection. Conclusions: In Taiwan, GBV-C/HGV infection is common in high-risk groups, and its coinfection seems to not aggravate the course of chronic hepatitis B or C.