Monitoring Infants for Hepatitis C Virus

Managing the risk of hepatitis C and liver disease among infants born to mothers with chronic HCV is a challenge.
Average infant age at first recorded HCV antibody clearance was 14.0 ± 2.7 months. Clearance of antibody was detected in 27.4% of infants before the age of 12 months and in 48.5% of infants between 12 and 16 months of age. Age at HCV antibody clearance was indirectly associated with the number of tests performed, but independent of the age at initiation of anti-HCV test.

Age at initiation of testing for HCV antibody and HCV RNA significantly correlated with the infant’s year of birth, suggesting that differing literature of the time influenced clinical decisions. About 50% of infants were tested within the first 4 months of life.

Regardless of the time of testing initiation, only a few initial HCV RNA tests were positive in the first 18 months of life.


Authors found their observations to be consistent with other research and concluded that postponing testing for anti-HCV antibody and HCV RNA up to 18 months of age is a reasonable approach in the management of infants born to mothers with HCV.

Even though they said it would be unlikely to detect and confirm true HCV transmission before 10 months of age, they acknowledged that early testing might assuage parental concerns and facilitate parental counseling, education, and consideration of treatment options. 

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