occult hepatitis c
Oct 13, 2008
I am a health care worker.I had what I think was acute hepatitis c .But I am not sure how this exposure happend. my GI told me I was a chronic carrier but my enzymes, and antidody have always been negative before this event I check them once a year do to my work. they were always negative.During this event my enzymes shot up to the over 1600 and my antibody converted my genotype was 1b.I was treated for one year and responed well.It has been now one year after treatment and I am still PCR negative by tagman no vial load.My question is I have read a study from spain that you could have hepatitis c with normal antibodys and negative blood pcr but they have found viral RNA in liver biopsy and blood peripheral blood mononuclear(PBMC) cells the studys said the after treatment that most patient who responded to tratment still had RNA in liver cells and in PBMC .Is this true and if so do I need to have a pcr by PBMC or liver biopsy to make sure I have really cleared this virus?Thank you for your help.
Response from Dr. McGovern
Yes you are correct that in the research laboratory HCV proteins can still be found in the liver after successful treatment. However, this is simply a research study and there is no information that tells us that this "occult" hepatitis C is important clinically.
Your response to treatment has been excellent. Several studies, including one just published, show that successful treatment leads to better liver health over time. There are many more studies suggesting that viral clearance from the bloodstream is the important marker to follow. No further testing is required.
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