Prevalence of hepatitis G virus in healthy children in liver disease, and human immunodeficiency virus-1 infection: Response to interferon

Dámaso Infante, Margarita Pich, Ramon Tormo, Silvia Sauleda, Carlos Montané, Juan Ignacio Esteban, Rafael Esteban

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Background: A new virus of the Flaviviridae family, the hepatitis G virus (HGV/HGBV-C), has been identified recently. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of HGV infection in healthy children, in patients with liver disease, and in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1-infected patients. The role of HGV in the clinical course of chronic HCV, the response to interferon-α2b, and the possible implications of intravenous γ-globulin in the transmission of the virus were also evaluated. Methods: Fifty healthy children, 66 patients with a variety of liver diseases, 19 patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and various batches of commercial intravenous immunoglobulins were investigated. Viral HGV RNA (5'NCR-NS5) and anti-HGV envelope protein E2 were assayed. Results: The prevalence of HGV infection was 6% in the healthy children and 42% in the liver disease group. Viremia and anti-E2 were found in 11% and 79% of patients with AIDS. Four (27%) of 15 patients with chronic HCV, receiving treatment with interferon, were coinfected by HGV and became HGV-RNA negative during therapy. One year after the end of interferon therapy, three of them were again HGV RNA positive. Conclusions: The prevalence of HGV infection is high in healthy children higher in children affected with liver disease, but its potential pathologic implication is questionable, and further studies are warranted. Hepatitis G virus is sensitive to interferon therapy, although the infection often recurs after discontinuation of treatment. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-390
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2000


  • Children
  • Epidemiology
  • Hepatitis G virus
  • Hepatitis GB-C virus
  • Interferon therapy


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