Inr J Gynecol Obster, 1992, 39: 233-236 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Letters to the Editor

Vertical transmission of hepatitis C virus infection To the Editor

May 5th, 1992

We investigated the prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) in 303 pregnant women by a screening program conducted from August, 1989 to March, 1991. Anti-HCV was positive in 0.99% of the cases (31303). No positive babies were observed to have a high titer of antiHCV antibodies during the neonated period. We later experienced a case of active chronic hepatitis in which no anti C-100 antibodies were detected and which was diagnosed as HCV by cDNA/PCR assay. Her baby’s anti-Cl00 antibody turned positive 1 month after delivery and no cDNA/PCR signal or serological liver dysfunction has been detected thus far. These results indicate that antibodies to HCV are present in - 1% of the population of pregnant women and vertical transmission from mother to infant might exist in active cases, The following is a description of a case in which vertical transmission might occur. Threatened premature labor at 31 weeks’ gestation developed in a 21-year-old woman (O-O-O-O)who had no previous history of hepatitis or blood transfusion. The clinical examination revealed elevated liver enzyme and serum bilirubin with severe jaundice. We were unsuccessful in preventing the premature labor and delivery of a low birthweight infant and the baby was born at 32 weeks’ gestation. A ClOO-3 antibody assay was performed using the serum of the umbilical cord or venous blood and no antibodies were detected from the samples collected during the first month of life. The titer of the antibodies turned positive 1 month after delivery but there was no evidence of HCV RNA by cDNA/PCR assay. Keywords: C-100 antibody; Vertical infection

0020-7292/92/$05.00 0 1992 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Printed and Published in Ireland

In one study, conducted on a population of children under the age of 10 years, the positive rate of anti-Cl00 was found to be significantly low [l]. Such findings led to the opinion that vertical transmission of HCV rarely occurs in spite of the fact that the HCV can maintain high carrier rates worldwide (0.2-2.6%) and especially in Japan [2]. Our preliminary data suggest that the positive rate of anti-HCV antibodies is - 1% of the gestational population and that transmission from a carrier mother to her infant rarely occurs. In active hepatitis, however, HCV transfer may occur from mother to infant and obstetricians should be aware of the need for treatment in these cases. S. I.&ii

H. Yoshizawa K. Tanaka

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Niigata University School of Medicine, Niigata Japan

References Watanabe J, Minegishi K, Miisumori T et al.: Prevalence of anti-HCV antibody in blood donors in the Tokyo area: Vox Sang 59: 86, 1990. Nagata I, Shiraki K: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in childhood: Rinsho-Byorj 39 (6): 592, 1991. Kuo G, Choo QL, Alter HJ et al.: An assay for circulation antibodies to a major etiologic virus of human non-A non-B hepatitis: Science 244: 362, 1989. Inoue Y, Miyamura T: Maternal transfer of HCV. Nature 353: 17, 1991.

Correspnndenec to: S. I&ii Department of Obstetrics artd Gywcology Niigata University SchooI of Medicine Niigata, Japan Ini J Gynecol Obstet 39

Vertical transmission of hepatitis C virus infection.

233 Inr J Gynecol Obster, 1992, 39: 233-236 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Letters to the Editor Vertical transmission of he...
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