Molecular epidemiology of an outbreak of infection with hepatitis C virus in recipients of anti-D immunoglobulin.
Power JP., Lawlor E., Davidson F., Holmes EC., Yap PL., Simmonds P.
In a retrospective investigation of possible transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) by anti-rhesus D immunoglobulin (anti-D) in 1977, we compared variants infecting anti-D recipients in Ireland of one of the implicated batches with those of epidemiologically unrelated HCV-infected individuals. All 100 of the recipients of the batch investigated to date were infected with a single genotype (type 1), consistent with a single-source outbreak, whereas a wider range of genotypes (1, 2, and 3) were found in anti-HCV positive individuals from Ireland infected by different routes. Nucleotide sequences from a 222 base fragment from the NS-5 region of the genome amplified from stored aliquots of the implicated batch closely matched those detected in anti-D recipients 17 years after the transmission event. This study shows the value of molecular epidemiological techniques for identifying distant sources of infection, and for the epidemiological investigation of the current distribution and transmission of HCV in different populations.