The development of hepatitis C antibody shortly after acute icteric non-A non-B hepatitis

C. K. Fairley, J. Hoy, D. E. Leslie, S. Nicholson, I. D. Gust

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Objective: To determine the relationship between the development of hepatitis C antibody (anti-HCV) and the clinical symptoms in acute hepatitis C. Design: Retrogpective analysis ot sera from patients with acute non-A non-B hepatitis. Setting and patients: Patients admitted to Fairfield Hospital with the diagnosis of acute non-A non-B hepatitis between 1979 and 1989. Inclusion criteria included a typical clinical illness, accompanied by an alanine aminotransferase level of more than 2.5 times the upper limit of normal (normal, ≤40 U/L) and negative serological test results for acute hepatitis A and B. Main outcome measure: Time to develop anti-HCV after the onset of symptoms in patients with acute hepatitis C. Results: Seroconversion was demonstrated in 26 of the 128 patients who fulfilled the inclusion criteria. In these patients, antibody was detected between one week and 32 weeks after the onset of dark urine; more than half the patients (54%) had seroconverted by four weeks and a third (34%) developed antibodies within two weeks. Of 20 patients who had sera collected within four weeks of the onset of dark urine, 14 (70%) had developed antibody. Conclusion: These results suggest that in patients with community-acquired hepatitis C, seroconversion occurs significantly earlier than is observed in patients who have been infected by blood transfusion. Sera taken shortly after the onset of symptomatic hepatitis C may be useful in the diagnosis of this condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-389
Number of pages3
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992

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