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Hepatitis C virus RNA in saliva of patients with
posttransfusion hepatitis and low efficiency of transmission among
J. T. Wang, T. H. Wang, J. C. Sheu, J. T. Lin & D. S.
Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University
Hospital, Taipei, Republic of China.
In a prospective study of posttransfusion hepatitis, 14 patients
who were diagnosed with posttransfusion hepatitis C were enrolled
randomly for the study of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA in saliva.
Saliva and serum samples were collected on the same day. Spouses of
11 married patients were also tested for anti-C100 and HCV RNA.
Paired serum and saliva samples were tested for HCV RNA by a nested
polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Two primer pairs specific for the
non-coding region of HCV were used for the PCR and a
oligonucleotide sequence between the primers was used as the probe
for Southern hybridization. Six patients were positive for HCV RNA
by first round PCR amplification and an additional four patients
were detected after second round PCR. All patients were negative
for HCV RNA in saliva after first round PCR, while seven were
positive after second round PCR amplification. All seven patients
were positive for HCV RNA in paired serum samples. HCV RNA was
detectable in saliva from 1 week to 38 months after the onset of
hepatitis. All spouses were negative for anti-C100 and HCV RNA. We
conclude that HCV RNA is present in the saliva of approximately
half of patients with acute and chronic hepatitis C, and the
presence of HCV RNA correlates with HCV viremia. The efficiency of
HCV transmission is low among spouses.
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