Viral Hepatitis C, 2006
In 2006, 11 cases of clinically symptomatic acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection were reported. In addition to the eleven cases, 10 individuals with asymptomatic, laboratory-confirmed acute HCV infection were reported. Prior to 2006, both symptomatic and asymptomatic acute infections were counted as incident cases. This change in case counting criteria should be considered when examining case incidence trends.
Seven (64%) of the 11 case-patients resided in Greater Minnesota. The median age was 37 years (range, 18 to 58 years). Six (55%) case-patients were female. Six (55%) were white, non-mixed race; two (18%) were American Indian; and three (27%) were of unknown race. Among the 11 case-patients, one (9%) case-patient had sexual contact with a known HCV-infected partner within 6 months prior to onset of symptoms; and one (9%) had been incarcerated within 6 months prior to onset of symptoms.
MDH received more than 2,200 reports of newly identified anti-HCV positive persons in 2006, 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 injection 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
- Go to full issue: Annual Summary of Communicable Diseases Reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, 2006