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The rate of vertical transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) was determined by a combination of assays for anti-HCV antibody and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 66 children born to infected mothers. Only 4 children showed evidence of infection with HCV, being positive for anti-HCV in all samples collected from 6 months to 5 years of age. All samples from the remaining 62 children were repeatedly anti-HCV-negative on screening by two second-generation antibody assays. Furthermore, samples collected at age 12 months from 30 antibody-negative children born of HCV-infected mothers were uniformly PCR-negative, showing that "seronegative" infection with HCV was rare or absent in this study group. Serologic reactivity to HCV-encoded antigens in samples from infected children was largely confined to the HCV core protein. Infection with human immunodeficiency virus in the mother was not a significant cofactor for mother-to-child transmission of HCV.

Original publication




Journal article


J Infect Dis

Publication Date





572 - 576


Child, Preschool, Cohort Studies, Female, HIV Infections, Hepacivirus, Hepatitis Antibodies, Hepatitis C, Humans, Immunoblotting, Immunoenzyme Techniques, Infant, Male, Mothers, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious, RNA, Viral, Retrospective Studies