Single Clinical Practice's Report of Testing Initiation, Antibody Clearance, and Transmission of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in Infants of Chronically HCV-Infected Mothers

Open Forum Infect Dis. 2016 Feb 8;3(1):ofw021. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofw021. eCollection 2016 Jan.


Background. Perinatally acquired hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the main source of pediatric HCV infection. However, the best time for initiation of screening and follow up of these infants is still unknown. Analysis of the clinical data of infants born to HCV-infected mothers, transmission rates, and pathway of HCV testing could be important for optimization of their management. Methods. Children of mothers with chronic HCV infection, who were observed between 1998 and 2013 at the pediatric infectious disease clinic for the first 18 months of their life, were eligible for enrollment. We analyzed the factors influencing initiation of HCV testing in these children and rate of HCV transmission as demonstrated by consecutive HCV antibody and HCV ribonucleic acid (RNA) amplification testing. Results. One hundred and forty-two mother-infant pairs were enrolled. The majority of mothers were intravenous drug users, had carried to term, and delivered vaginally. A high proportion of infants had at least 1 positive anti-HCV antibody assay without viremia. True HCV infection and intermittent viremia were recorded in 3.5% and 1.4% of infants, respectively. Initiation of HCV testing after 10 months of age was associated with a significant decline in the probability of obtaining a positive HCV antibody of maternal origin. Conclusions. The low likelihood for detection and confirmation of true HCV transmission before 10 months of age could challenge the early initiation of HCV screening of infants exposed to maternal HCV infection but may affect the parental need for early monitoring and counseling.

Keywords: HCV; diagnosis; pediatrics; perinatal transmission.