Title

Prevalence of hepatitis G virus in Pakistani children with transfusion dependent beta- thalassemia major

Document Type

Article

Department

Pathology and Microbiology; Haematology/Oncology

Abstract

We ought to obtain data on the prevalence of the newly discovered tranfusion transmittable hepatitis G virus in polytransfused b- thalassemia major children. Each individual had received multiple blood transfusions, from 12 to 36 per year. No documentation of prior hepatic infection was available. Serum samples were collected prospectively from the randomly selected subjects and were analyzed for HGV RNA by polymerase chain reaction using primer specific for two different regions of the HGV genome. Among the 100 individuals examined 21 were positive for HGV RNA. Four patients had evidence of dual infection, both HGV RNA and HCV RNA were isolated from their sera. While in one sample presence of both HGV RNA and HBV DNA was established. Only one child was positive for hepatitis E antibodies. The sera of 10 children were reactive for hepatitis B surface antigen whereas 35 individuals were positive for hepatitis C virus antibody. The ALT levels were variable in HGV infected children. Four out of 16 (25%) showed peak ALT levels of 218 IU/I, 8/16 (50%) children demonstrated slightly elevated ALT levels whereas 25% individuals showed normal ALT levels. Alkaline Phosphatase levels were elevated in 90% of the children and 20% patients of this series also had higher GGT levels. The observed AP levels were not statistically different among HGV, HGV/HCV or HGV/HBV groups. Even though the ALT levels were deranged in the children with HGV alone but none of the children had demonstrated symptoms of liver disease, their direct and total bilirubin levels were normal and no complain of jaundice was recorded. In conclusion, our findings suggested that like other blood borne hepatic viruses, HGV is also prevalent in the high risk group of multiple transfused patients in Pakistan but our results support the absence of any causal relationship between HGV and hepatitis.

Publication

Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology