Hepatitis G Virus Infection in Iranian Blood Donors and High-Risk Groups


avatar Sedigheh Amini Kafi-Abad ORCID 1 , * , avatar Shahram Samiei 2 , avatar Ali Talebian 2 , avatar Mahtab Maghsudloo 2 , avatar Ahmad Gharehbaghian 2

Department of Immunohematology, Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization Research Center, [email protected], Tehran, IR.Iran
Department of Biochemistry, Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization Research Center, Tehran, IR.Iran

how to cite: Kafi-Abad S, Samiei S, Talebian A, Maghsudloo M, Gharehbaghian A. Hepatitis G Virus Infection in Iranian Blood Donors and High-Risk Groups. Hepat Mon.9(4): 282-286.


Background and Aims: Hepatitis G virus (HGV) has a worldwide distribution, and the prevalence rates among blood donors and high-risk groups are different. The purpose of this study was to assess the frequency of the HGV infection in blood donors as a blood borne pathogen and in high-risk groups (multitransfused patients), such as thalassemic, hemophillic, and hemodialysis patients.

Methods: 400 Iranian (Tehran Blood Transfusion Center, 2004) blood donors were tested for HGV RNA by a reverse transcriptase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. The participants were negative in blood screening tests for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis C virus antibodies (anti- HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Ag/Ab, and Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR). HGV RNA positivity was surveyed in 40 thalassaemic, 16 hemophilic, and 46 hemodialysis patients by RT-PCR. To assess the frequency of infection, the prevalence of HGV RNA positive cases per 100 donors/patients with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated. P values were estimated with chi-square tests.

Results: 19 (4.8%; 95% CI: 2.9-6.5%) out of 400 blood donors samples were HGV RNA positive. The prevalence of HGV infection was 5.28% (13 out of 243) in repeat donors, 4.12% (4 in 99) in lapsed donors, and 3.50% (2 out of 58) in first-time blood donors. The combined prevalence of HGV infection in these groups of patients was 16 (15.7%; 95% CI: 8.3-23.1%) out of 102 samples. HGV RNA frequency was 1 out of 40 (2.5%; 95% CI: 1.8-3.2%) thalassemic patients, 15 out of 46 (32.6%; 95% CI: 16.8-48.4%) hemodialysis patients, and 0 out of 16 hemophilics patients.

Conclusions: The prevalence of HGV RNA in the high-risk population was 15.7% and nearly 3 times more than blood donors (4.8%). These data indicate the possibility of parenteral transmission of HGV, especially by transfusion of blood and blood components. Decisions to screen blood supplies for a transfusion-transmitted infection agent should be based on sufficient benefits for recipients.

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