Covert transmission of hepatitis C virus during bloody fisticuffs

Gastroenterology. 2000 Aug;119(2):507-11. doi: 10.1053/gast.2000.9303.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is transmitted primarily through direct percutaneous exposure to infected blood. Sporadic HCV cases exist and may represent more than 10% of HCV transmission. We report the first case of documented transmission of HCV during a fight from a person who unknowingly had chronic HCV infection to a person who subsequently contracted acute hepatitis C. Patient-to-patient transmission was ascertained by sequence analysis of part of the NS5B genome and phylogenetic analysis. This case report suggests that sporadic HCV infection may be a result of blood exposure. This example of transmission could have a major impact in sports such as boxing or rugby. We suggest that in any fight, single use or nondisposable material should be used to dry blood to avoid such contamination.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Boxing*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Football
  • Genotype
  • Hepatitis C / blood
  • Hepatitis C / genetics
  • Hepatitis C / transmission*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / blood
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Violence*


  • DNA, Viral