Background. Although transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) through parental exposure is well documented, it is still controversial whether familial clustering of HCV occurs. Methods. To investigate risk factors for HCV infection, 109 cases and 84 non-infected controls were studied. In addition, 250 family members (104 men, 146 women) of cases and 170 family members of controls (64 men, 106 women) were tested for HCV infection using an anti-HCV antibody, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and reverse transcribed polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Results. In the case-control analysis, people aged ≤ 60 were almost three times more likely to be infected by HCV than those aged < 40. Risk of HCV infection was most strongly related to a history of blood transfusion (OR = 12.6, 95% CI: 4.3-36.5) followed by a history of jaundice (OR = 4.1, 95% CI: 1.3-12.6). Only one family member of cases and no-one related to the controls had HCV infection. Conclusions. These results suggest that, in Korea, age and parenteral exposure, such as a blood transfusion, are risk factors for HCV infection and familial clustering of HCV infection, if it occurs, is rare.
- Familial clustering
- Hepatitis C virus
- Reverse transcribed polymerase chain reaction
- Risk factor
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