An epidemiologic study was performed to investigate GBV-C/HGV infection in 460 inhabitants of H town where hepatitis C virus (HCV) is hyper endemic. GBV-C/HGV RNA was detected by reverse transcription hemi-nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-hemi-nested PCR) for the 5' untranslated region (5'-UTR). The nucleotide sequences of GBV-C/HGV 5'-UTR were determined and phylogenetic analysis was performed. GBV-C/HGV RNA, antibody to HCV (anti-HCV), and HCV RNA were detected in 12 (2.6%), 108 (23.5%), and 87 of subjects (18.9%), respectively. The phylogenetic tree analysis indicated that the 12 GBV- C/HGV-positive isolates could be classified as a new GBV-C/HGV group (type 3). No intraspousal transmission of GBV-C/HGV was observed. Four subjects positive for GBV-C/HGV RNA without HCV RNA had normal mean aminotransferase concentration. This study indicated: 1, the prevalence of GBV-C/HGV was lower than that of HCV; 2, Type 3 GBV-C/HGV was the most prevalent; 3. No intraspousal transmission of GBV-C/HGV was observed; and 4, GBV-C/HGV alone may not cause severe liver injury.
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