Seventy-three Swedish blood donors (52 men, 21 women; median age 36 years) repeatedly reactive for hepatitis C antibodies (anti-HCV C-100-3) were tested with a second-generation (2nd-gen) anti-HCV Elisa and a 4-band recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA 2). These results were correlated to serum alanine aminotransferase (S-ALAT), liver morphology and viremia as detected by 'nested' polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based on primers from a 5'-noncoding sequence of the HCV genome. Thirty-five of 46 (76%) donors with positive 2nd-gen Elisa tests confirmed by RIBA 2 were PCR positive whereof 27 had histological findings compatible with chronic persistent hepatitis (CPH) and 7 had chronic active hepatitis (CAH). Ten of 56 (18%) 2nd-gen Elisa-positive donors were RIBA 2 negative (or indeterminate) and none of these had chronic hepatitis nor were PCR positive. Seventeen of 73 (23%) donors were 1st-gen Elisa positive but 2nd-gen Elisa negative. All of these were PCR negative and only 1 (6%) had chronic hepatitis (CPH). An elevated S-ALAT level (reference < 0.7 mu kat/l) was found in 26 2nd-gen Elisa and RIBA 2-positive donors of which 18 had CPH and 7 had CAH and all 25 were PCR positive. A normal S-ALAT level was found in 9 of 34 (26%) donors with chronic hepatitis (all had CPH) and positive PCR. We have found that blood donors with positive 2nd-gen anti-HCV Elisa tests confirmed by RIBA-2 and especially with a concomitant elevated S-ALAT are highly likely to be viremic as demonstrated by PCR and to have chronic hepatitis.
|Status||Published - 1993|