Among the three recently described GB viruses (GBV-A, GBV-B, and GBV-C), only GBV-C has been linked to cryptogenic hepatitis in man. Because of the limited utility of currently available research tests to determine antibody response to GBV-C proteins, the prevalence of GBV-C RNA in human sera was studied using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The prevalence of GBV-C is higher among volunteer blood donors with elevated serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels (3.9%) than among volunteer blood donors with normal ALT levels (0.8%). Higher rates were also noted among commercial blood donors (12.9%) and intravenous drug users (16.0%). GBV-C was frequently detected in residents of West Africa, where the prevalence was > 10% in most age groups. Approximately 20% of patients diagnosed with either acute or chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) were found to be positive for GBV-C RNA. In addition, GBV-C RNA sequences were detected in individuals diagnosed with non-A-E hepatitis, with clinical courses ranging from mild disease to fulminant hepatitis. Fourteen of sixteen subjects with or without clinically apparent hepatitis were positive for GBV-C RNA more than 1 year after the initial positive result.
- Microbiology in the medical area