Published online Dec 15, 1998. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v4.i6.489
Revised: October 20, 1998
Accepted: November 20, 1998
Published online: December 15, 1998
AIM: To determine the epidemiological characteristics and clinical significance of HGV infection, and to compare with HBV and HCV infections.
METHODS: Anti-HGV, HBsAg, anti-HBs, anti-HBc and anti-HCV were detected by enzyme-linked immunoassys (EIA). Anti-HGV positive sera were further tested for HGV RNA by a nested reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-nPCR).
RESULTS: The anti-HGV prevalence rate was 12.9% in the rural population. It was relatively low in children under 10 years of age, and then increased with age and peaked in the group of 50-59 years (29.2%). The Carrier rate of HBsAg was 12.6% in the population and quickly reached the highest (16.2%) in the 5-year age group. The prevalence rate of HBV infection was 64.9%, and rose to a high level in the group of 10 years, and maintained high till up to the top of 79.2% in the 50-59 age group. The HCV infection rate was 15.3%. No Anti-HCV positive cases were found in the group under 10 years of age. It was particularly high in the 20-40 age group, and reached the peak in the group of 30 years old. No significant differences were found in the infection rates of HBV, HCV and HGV between male and female. HGV infection was associated with the history of blood donation and the sexual transmission. The anti-HGV positive rate in wives of husbands with HGV infection was 53.3%, significantly higher than that in those with anti-HGV negative husbands (7.8%). HGV coinfection with HBV or HCV had no influence on serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT). No ALT elevation was found in the group with HGV infection alone.
CONCLUSION: The epidemiological characteristics of HGV infection are different from that of HBV and HCV. HGV is transmitted by blood and sex, and does not seem to cause liver damage.