Possible role of high-titer maternal viremia in perinatal transmission of hepatitis c virus

Ho Hsiung Lin, Jia Horng Kao, Hong Yuan Hsu, Yen Hsuan Ni, Shiou Hwei Yeh, Lih Hwa Hwang, Mei Hwei Chang, Su Cheng Hwang, Pei Jer Chen, Ding Shinn Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Scopus citations


To study perinatal transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV), 15 anti-HCV-positive carrier mothers without human immunodeficiency virus coinfection were recruited. At delivery, maternal blood was taken and anti-HCV titer was determined and HCV RNA measured in each serum sample by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR). A competitive PCR was used in selected samples to quantitate HCV concentration. The 15 neonates were followed regularly for 1 year and their sera were also assayed for anti-HCV and for HCV RNA by reverse transcription PCR. All the mothers were positive for HCV RNA. Only one normal spontaneously delivered neonate of a mother with extremely high titer of anti-HCV (1:20, 000) and HCV concentration (1010 copies/ml.) had both anti-HCV and HCV RNA in serum for up to 6 months of age. In contrast, none of the remaining 14 neonates born to mothers with low- to high-titer anti-HCV (1:4-1:1000) and moderate amounts of HCV RNA (105-106 copies/ml.) contracted HCV infection. The results imply that high-titer maternal viremia and normal spontaneous delivery may allow more HCV to infect the neonate intrapartum, therefore establishing perinatal transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-641
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1994


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