Viral Hepatitis C, 2000
In 2000, 15 cases of acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were reported (0.3 per 100,000 population). Thirteen (87%) cases had clinical symptoms, and two had asymptomatic seroconversions. Five (33%) cases resided in the seven-county metropolitan area (Dakota, Hennepin, and Ramsey Counties), and 10 (67%) resided in greater Minnesota (Cass, Mahnomen, Rice, St. Louis, Wabasha, and Yellow Medicine Counties). The median age among cases was 36 years (range, 26 to 43 years). Slightly more than half (53%) of cases were male. Twelve (80%) cases were white; one (7%) was black; one (7%) was American Indian, and race was unknown for the one (6%) case of Hispanic ethnicity.
Among the 15 cases, seven (47%) reported using needles to inject drugs, four (27%) had sexual contact with a known HCV antibody (anti-HCV)-positive partner within 6 months prior to onset of symptoms, and one (6%) reported non-sexual contact with an anti-HCV positive person. No risk factor was determined for three (20%) cases. No cases related to occupational exposure were reported.
More than 2,700 reports of newly identified anti-HCV positive persons were received in 2000, most of whom are chronically infected. The 15 acute cases represent less than 1% of these recently diagnosed persons. Persons who test positive for HCV also should be screened for susceptibility to hepatitis A and B infections and immunized appropriately.