Journal of medical virology vol:35 issue:4 pages:303-6
Several diagnostic hepatitis C assays have been developed for the detection of antibodies to different antigens of the virus. This virus is the major cause of non-A, non-B hepatitis. Seventy-nine patients undergoing chronic hemodialysis and/or hemofiltration were tested for the presence of anti-HCV antibodies (anti-C-100-3 antibodies and anti-core antibodies), anti-hepatitis B core antibodies (anti-HBc), and aminotransferases (ALT). Seven patients were positive by one or more of the anti-HCV enzyme linked immunoassays (EIAs), while HCV-RNA was detectable in only four patients. These four patients had at least one, but not necessarily the same, positive anti-HCV EIA. HCV-RNA was not detected in patients who had no antibodies as determined by all six anti-HCV EIAs. All patients with a marker for HCV infection had persistent normal levels of transaminases. Three patients had elevated ALT values without a marker for HCV infection and suffered from hepatitis B virus infection. Anti-HBc was detected in 27/72 patients without any marker and in four patients with a marker of HCV infection. However, HCV-RNA was detectable in only one of these four anti-HBc positive patients. It is concluded that surrogate markers (anti-HBc and serum transaminases) are not useful for identification of HCV carriers in chronic hemodialysis patients.