The distribution of genotypes of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) was studied in 24 children with chronic posttransfusion hepatitis C. Genotypes were determined by reverse transcription-nested polymerase chain reaction with type-specific primers. Twenty (83%) were infected by a single genotype: 14 by type II [1b], 3 by III [2a], and 3 IV [2b]. Four (17%) were coinfected by two genotypes. The amount of blood transfusion given to the patients infected by multiple genotypes was significantly larger than to those infected by a single genotype (mean +/- SD, 15.2 +/- 14.4 vs 78.6 +/- 42.0 U). Three of the four patients infected by multiple genotypes were considered to be immunocompromised by anticancer therapy for malignant disease. Eighteen patients showed a raised level of alanine aminotransferase throughout the follow-up, while the remaining six patients (three of type II [1b], two of IV [2b], and one of III [2a] + IV [2b]) achieved biochemical remission. Liver biopsy was performed on 19 patients. Compared to those with type III [2a] or IV [2b], those with type II [1b] appeared to show more severe histological changes with higher histological activity index scores, although there was no significant difference. The positive rates of antibody to C100-3 or 5-1-1 in patients with type III [2a] or IV [2b] were lower than in those with type II [1b] (33 and 33 vs 43 and 50%), whereas the antibody to C33C or C22-3 was detected in nearly all patients regardless of their genotypes. In the present study, we found a high incidence of multiple-genotype infection among children with chronic posttransfusion hepatitis C.