Viral Hepatitis C, 2005
In 2005, 15 cases of acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were reported. Twelve (80%) of these case-patients had clinical symptoms, and three (20%) were asymptomatic, laboratory-confirmed cases. Eleven (73%) case-patients resided in Greater Minnesota. The median age was 29 years (range, 19 to 50 years). Eleven (73%) case-patients were male. Twelve (80%) were white, non-mixed race; one (7%) was white and American Indian; and two (13%) were of unknown race.
Among the 15 case-patients, 10 (67%) reported using needles to inject drugs. Two (13%) case-patients had sexual contact with a known anti-HCV-positive partner within 6 months prior to onset of symptoms; three (20%) had a recent tattoo. (A case-patient may report more than one risk factor.)
MDH received more than 2,600 reports of newly identified anti-HCV-positive persons in 2005, the vast majority of whom are chronically infected. Because most cases are asymptomatic, medical providers are encouraged to consider each patient’s risk for HCV infection to determine the need for testing. Patients for whom testing is indicated include: persons with past or present injecting drug use; recipients of transfusions or organ transplants before July 1992; recipients of clotting factor concentrates produced before 1987; persons on chronic hemodialysis; persons with persistently abnormal alanine aminotransferase levels; healthcare, emergency medical, and public safety workers after needle sticks, sharps, or mucosal exposures to HCV-positive blood; and children born to HCV-positive women. Infants born to HCV-infected mothers should be tested at 12 to 18 months of age, as earlier testing tends to reflect maternal antibody status. Persons who test positive for HCV should be screened for susceptibility to hepatitis A and B virus infections and immunized appropriately.
Note: For up to date information see: Hepatitis C