Viral infection has been shown to induce aplastic anemia, unidentified types of hepatitis being the most common cause for aplastic anemia-associated viral hepatitis. The survival rate for this group of patients after bone marrow transplantation with stem cells from an HLA-matched sibling is not well known. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of hepatitis G virus (HGV) and transfusion transmitted virus (TTV) infection in non-A, non-B, non-C hepatitis associated-aplastic anemia (HAAA) patients, and to define the role of bone marrow transplantation (BMT) as a therapeutic modality for this disease. Sixty-eight patients (43 males and 25 females) with aplastic anemia, underwent allogeneic BMT at the Hadassah University Hospital between 1981 and 1997. Onset of hepatitis was defined as jaundice and elevated alanine aminotransaminase (ALT) levels. Onset of aplastic anemia was defined as the first date on which varying degrees of pancytopenia occurred: hemoglobin level below 10 g/dl, WBC below 2 x 10(9)/l and low platelet count 10 x 10(10)/l. Serial serum samples from HAAA patients were assayed for virological and/or serological markers of hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, G viruses, TTV and parvovirus B19. Seventeen of the 68 patients with aplastic anemia (25%) suffered from hepatitis, 12 males and five females, ages 5 to 36 years. The mean interval between onset of hepatitis and first indication of aplastic anemia was 62 days (range 14-225 days). The development of aplastic anemia was unrelated to age, sex or severity of hepatitis. Ten of the 17 patients (59%) achieved complete ALT recovery prior to the diagnosis of aplastic anemia. Serum samples were available for 15 patients; none had evidence of acute or active hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, G and TTV virus infection at the time of diagnosis. Parvovirus B19 DNA sequences were not detectable in 10 of 12 tested cases; two positive results were detected in serum samples obtained after blood transfusion, making the analysis of these positive results difficult. All 17 patients underwent BMT. The mean post-BMT follow-up period was 38 months (range 1 day-123 months), five patients (30%) died 1 to 160 days post BMT, and 12 (70%) are alive 31 to 123 months after BMT. Relapsing hepatitis was not observed in any of the patients. In conclusion, HAAA is a disease of the young and the etiologic agent associated with HAAA remains unknown. HGV, TTV and parvovirus B19 sequences were not detected in any of the HAAA cases. The survival rate after BMT with stem cells from an HLA-matched sibling is similar to that for patients with non-hepatitis-associated aplastic anemia.