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Tsertsvadze T.,Tbilisi State University | Tsertsvadze T.,Clinical Immunology Research Center | Sharvadze L.,Tbilisi State University | Sharvadze L.,Clinical Immunology Research Center | And 6 more authors.
Virology Journal | Year: 2016

Introduction: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a serious health problem in Georgia. Methods: We conducted a prospective study to identify and characterize the natural history of recent HCV infection since very first days of infection. Recent HCV infection was defined as detectable plasma HCV RNA in the absence of anti-HCV antibodies. Results: A total of 7600 HCV seronegative blood donors and 3600 HCV seronegative drug users were screened for recent HCV infection. Among them 7 (0.09 %) blood donors and 10 (0.28 %) drug users tested positive for HCV RNA and were classified as having recent HCV infection. Of these 17 patients 4 (23.5 %) spontaneously cleared the virus by the end of 24 week follow-up. Five clinical forms of recent HCV infection were identified during the follow-up. Four patients had symptomatic disease, including 3 patients with jaundice and other clinical symptoms (2 of them cleared virus) and 1 patient only had other symptoms without jaundice. All symptomatic patients had ALT elevation. Three distinct variants of asymptomatic disease were identified in 13 patients: 9 patients had ALT elevation and none cleared the virus; 2 patients developed chronic disease without ALT elevation; 2 patients cleared virus without anti-HCV seroconversion and without ALT elevation; this form can be described as transitory HCV viremia. Conclusion: Additional studies are needed to define clinical and public health implications of transitory HCV viremia. Our study suggests the need for implementing nucleic acid testing of blood donors and key populations in order to more effectively identify HCV infected persons. © 2016 Tsertsvadze et al.

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