Risk of hepatitis C virus infections through household contact with chronic carriers: analysis of nucleotide sequences

Hepatology. 1993 Jun;17(6):971-6.


We evaluated the risk of hepatitis C virus transmission through household contact with chronic carriers using nucleotide sequence analysis. Chronic hepatitis C patients (76 patients) were divided into two groups: familial transmission of hepatitis C virus was studied in group A (53 patients); group B (23 patients) served as nonfamilial controls for group A. Of 88 family members of group A patients, 18 (20%) had elevated serum ALT levels, 20 (23%) had antibodies against hepatitis C virus and 16 (18%) had hepatitis C virus RNA in serum. Nucleotide sequences of the region of the hepatitis C virus genome spanning the core and envelope genes were compared among the three groups. In group B, the average nucleotide sequence homology was 91.0% +/- 2.29% (a pairwise comparison was made for each of the patients; n = 253). Isolates from two family members were significantly more homologous to isolates from corresponding patients in group A than to isolates from group B patients. Of the two isolates from family members, one was from a child whose mother was a patient (97.7% homology) and one was from a spouse (98.1% homology). These results strongly suggest familial transmission of the same hepatitis C virus strain. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the route of intrafamilial transmission.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Base Sequence
  • Carrier State*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / genetics*
  • Hepatitis C / microbiology
  • Hepatitis C / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Viral / blood*
  • RNA, Viral / chemistry
  • Risk Factors
  • Sequence Homology
  • Viral Core Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics


  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Core Proteins
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • Alanine Transaminase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/L04548
  • GENBANK/L04549
  • GENBANK/L04550
  • GENBANK/L04551
  • GENBANK/L04552
  • GENBANK/L04553
  • GENBANK/L04554
  • GENBANK/L04555
  • GENBANK/S63245
  • GENBANK/S66658
  • GENBANK/X61591