Prevalence, incidence, and clinical characteristics of hepatitis G virus/GB virus C infection in Scottish blood donors.
Blair CS., Davidson F., Lycett C., McDonald DM., Haydon GH., Yap PL., Hayes PC., Simmonds P., Gillon J.
The prevalence, incidence, clinical features, and natural history of hepatitis G virus (HGV) or GB virus C (GBV-C) were investigated in a non-remunerated blood donor population to determine its clinical significance and its impact on blood safety. Of 1020 regular blood donors, 23 (2.25%) were positive for plasma HGV/GBV-C RNA. Alanine aminotransferase levels were lower than in uninfected donors (median, 20 IU/mL; 32 IU/mL in controls; P=.015). Clinical examination produced no other evidence for hepatitis or for shared nonhepatic diseases. Fifteen of 17 donors excreted HGV/GBV-C in saliva (mean level, 8x103 copies of RNA/mL). Testing of previous donations indicated an incidence of 170-200 new infections with HGV/GBV-C per 100,000 donor-years. The absence of further clinicopathologic data and the limitations of current polymerase chain reaction-based methods for screening suggests that it is neither necessary nor practical to commence screening.