The epidemiologic significance and clinical pattern of HCV induced chronic hepatitis in India.
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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) ribonucleic acid (RNA) was tested for in a group of 16 defined non-B chronic hepatitis patients using specific reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). These were chosen from amongst 56 biopsy proven cases of chronic hepatitis of which majority (40) were positive for hepatitis B virus infection. Hepatitis C virus RNA could be demonstrated in 12 (75%) of remaining 16 cases. These include all seven patients positive for antibody to HCV. Two of these patients had past history of blood transfusion and in another two the clinical course started with severe acute liver disease. This study establishes the association of HCV with severe liver disease. The clinical and biochemical profiles are also discussed. In view of limited sensitivity of the antibody assays it is justified to develop diagnostic testes based on local strains.