Journal Article

Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Childhood: Clinical Patterns and Evolution in 224 White Children

Paloma Jara, Massimo Resti, Loreto Hierro, Raffaella Giacchino, Cristiana Barbera, Lucia Zancan, Carlo Crivellaro, Etienne Sokal, Chiara Azzari, Maria Guido and Flavia Bortolotti

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 36, issue 3, pages 275-280
Published in print February 2003 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online February 2003 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/345908
Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Childhood: Clinical Patterns and Evolution in 224 White Children

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The characteristics and evolution of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were retrospectively investigated in a study of 224 HCV RNA-seropositive white children who were consecutively recruited at 7 European centers in 1980–1998. At presentation, all patients were positive for antibodies to hepatitis C virus, 87% were asymptomatic, and 48% had alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels that were ⩽2 times the upper limit of the range considered to be normal. Of 200 children followed for 1–17.5 years (mean follow-up ± standard deviation [SD], 6.2 ± 4.7 years), only 12 (6%) achieved sustained viremia clearance and normalization of the ALT level. In 92 revised liver biopsy specimen analyses, the mean fibrosis score ( ±SD) was 1.5 ± 1.3 for children <15 years of age and 2.3 ± 1.2 for children ⩾15 years of age (range, 0–6 years; P < .01). Pediatric HCV infection is usually mild, but few patients, especially those who are perinatally infected, clear viremia in the medium-term follow-up. Conversely, the higher rates of fibrosis observed in older patients suggest the possibility of an insidious progression of HCV-associated liver disease.

Journal Article.  3768 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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