Persistence and clinical significance of hepatitis G virus infections in injecting drug users

David L. Thomas, Yoshiyuki Nakatsuji, James W. Shih, Harvey J. Alter, Kenrad E. Nelson, Jacquie A. Astemborski, Cynthia M. Lyles, David Vlahov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To assess the persistence of hepatitis G virus (HGV) infection and its association with liver disease, HGV RNA was assessed in the most recent serum sample for 246 long-term injecting drug users (IDUs) and in prior specimens for those found HGV RNA-positive. HGV RNA was detected at the most recent visit in 38 (15.4%). For 31 (82%), HGV RNA was also found at all prior visits occurring a median of 6.1 years earlier. HGV-positive IDUs were younger and had fewer years of drug use, suggesting that HGV RNA had previously been cleared. Serial samples from 29 short-term IDUs were then assessed. HGV RNA was detected in 9 (31%) of 29 short-term IDUs, and 5 (56%) of the 9 HGV infections cleared. No differences were detected in serum levels of liver- related enzymes among HGV RNA-positive and -negative participants (P > .20). HGV infection is not associated with hepatic inflammation. HGV clearance occurs after many acute infections but uncommonly in persons who remain RNA- positive years after exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-592
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume176
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

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