Universal precautions prevent hepatitis C virus transmission: a 54 month follow-up of the Belgian Multicenter Study. The Universitaires Cliniques St-Luc (UCL) Collaborative Group.
Jadoul M. Cornu C. van Ypersele de Strihou C.
University of Louvain Medical School, Belgium. Jadoul@nefr.ucl.ac.be
The isolation of anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) in hemodialyzed (HD) patients has been repeatedly advocated to prevent nosocomial HCV transmission. We evaluated the incidence of seroconversion for HCV in Belgian HD patients, and demonstrate the complete prevention of HCV transmission by adherence to the universal precautions advocated by the Centers for Disease Control (Atlanta, GA, USA). All (N = 963) HD patients from 15 units, none of which isolates anti-HCV positive patients, were tested by a second or third generation enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (with confirmation by a second- or third-generation recombinant immunoblot assay or the polymerase chain reaction) every 18 months from May 1991 to November 1995. Follow-up was available in 488 patients (drop-outs resulting from death or transplantation mainly). The yearly incidence of seroconversion for HCV over the initial 18 months was 1.41%, with evidence suggestive of nosocomial HCV transmission. Universal precautions were therefore reinforced. The incidence of seroconversion subsequently fell to 0.56% and 0%, respectively (P = 0.014), despite the facts that the average transfusion load and the proportion of patients with dialyzer reuse or with monitors disinfected after each session did not change significantly. We conclude that the strict enforcement of universal precautions fully prevents HCV transmission to HD patients. The isolation of anti-HCV positive patients is not warranted.
Distinct HLA class II alleles determine antibody response to vaccination with hepatitis B surface antigen.
Caillat-Zucman S. Gimenez JJ. Wambergue F. Albouze G. Lebkiri B. Naret C. Moynot A. Jungers P. Bach JF.
Laboratory of Immunology, Hopital Necker, Paris, France. email@example.com
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) determinants control antibody production in response to protein antigens. Vaccination with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) frequently fails in hemodialyzed patients, but the genetic factors that modulate humoral responsiveness are poorly characterized. We studied the distribution of HLA class II alleles in 415 hemodialyzed Caucasian patients who received a full course of HBsAg vaccination, using class II oligotyping after genomic amplification of the DRB1 and DQB1 loci. Phenotype frequencies were compared in 114 non responders (anti-HBs antibodies < or = 10 SI units/liter), 301 responders (anti-HBs antibodies > 10 units/liter) and 471 healthy controls. DRB1*01 (DR1) and DRB1*15 (DR15) frequencies were lower in nonresponders than in responders and controls (DR1, 12.3% vs. 22.9% and 24.8%, respectively; DR15, 14% vs. 22.9% and 25.1%), while DRB1*03 (DR3) and DRB1*14 (DR14) frequencies were higher (DR3, 32.5% vs. 16.6% and 25.3%, respectively; DR14, 9.6% vs. 3% and 6.6%). Overall, 44.5% of DR3 or DR14 patients were nonresponders, compared to 18.1% of DR1 or DR15 patients (P = 0.0001). In conclusion the humoral response to HBsAg vaccine is influenced by class II allelic variants, which differ in their capacity to bind and present peptides to T lymphocytes.
Predictors of GBV-C infection among patients referred for renal transplantation.
Murthy BV. Muerhoff AS. Desai SM. Natov SN. Bouthot BA. Ruthazer R. Schmid CH. Levey AS. Mushahwar IK. Pereira BJ.
Division of Nephrology, New England Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
The etiology of liver disease remains unknown in about 4 to 23% of dialysis patients and 10 to 16% of renal transplant recipients. A search for other causative agents of liver disease led to the discovery of the GB group of viruses. We studied the association between the presence of GB virus C (GBV-C) infection, known risk factors for parenterally-transmitted infections and history or laboratory evidence of liver disease among end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients referred for renal transplantation to the New England Organ Bank, MA. Stored sera from patients on the renal transplantation waiting list between November 1986 and June 1990 were tested for antibody to hepatitis C virus (HCV). Sera were available in 1544 of 3243 (48%) patients, and anti-HCV was detected by ELISA3 in 287 (19%). All 287 anti-HCV positive patients formed the anti-HCV positive cohort and 286 randomly selected anti-HCV negative patients formed the anti-HCV negative cohort (573 patients overall). Additional sera were available for GBV-C RNA testing in 465 of 573 (81%) patients, and GBV-C RNA was detected by RT-PCR in 146. The overall extrapolated prevalence of serum GBV-C RNA was 29%. The prevalence of serum GBV-C RNa among anti-HCV positive patients (35%) was not significantly different from that among anti-HCV negative patients (29%; P = 0.22). In a univariate analysis, compared to patients without GBV-C RNA, patients with serum GBV-C RNA were younger [odds ratio (OR) 0.98 per year of age, P = 0.01], had a lower proportion of males (OR 0.64, P = 0.03), lower proportion of patients with diabetes mellitus (OR 0.44, P = 0.01), higher proportion of patients with a previous transplantation (OR 1.53, P = 0.04), longer duration of dialysis at the time of enrollment (OR 1.004 per month on dialysis, P = 0.03), and a higher proportion of patients with history of transfusions (OR 4.58, P = 0.01). Serum GBV-C RNA was not associated with a significantly increased OR for history of liver disease or non-A, non-B hepatitis, or elevated serum alanine aminotransferase levels. In a step-wise multivariate regression analysis, a younger age (OR 0.98 per year of age, P = 0.03), and history of blood transfusions (OR 3.89, P = 0.03) were associated with an increased OR for serum GBV-C RNA, while diabetes mellitus was associated with a decreased OR for GBV-C RNA (OR 0.47, P = 0.01). Anti-HCV was not a predictor of serum GBV-C RNA (OR 1.07, P = 0.77). The results of this study support the fact that GBV-C is a parenterally transmitted virus and shed light on the modes of transmission of GBV-C among ESRD patients. However, the association with liver disease remains to be established.
Effects of hepatitis C infection and renal transplantation on survival in end-stage renal disease. The New England Organ Bank Hepatitis C Study Group.
Pereira BJ. Natov SN. Bouthot BA. Murthy BV. Ruthazer R. Schmid CH. Levey AS.
New England Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is common among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). However, the effect of HCV infection on survival among ESRD patients, and the impact of renal transplantation on the course of HCV infection has not been adequately defined. Sera from patients on the renal transplant waiting list at the New England Organ Bank between November 1986 and June 1990 were tested for anti-HCV using a third generation ELISA. All anti-HCV positive patients and a 1:1 ratio of randomly selected anti-HCV negative patients comprised the study sample. Duration of follow-up was calculated from the date of the first available serum specimen until death, loss to follow-up or December 31, 1995, whichever occurred earlier. Multivariate analysis of risk factors for mortality was performed using a Cox proportional hazards model which included anti-HCV as a time-independent (baseline) variable, transplantation as a time-dependent (follow-up) variable, and independently significant baseline covariates. Anti-HCV was detected in 287 (19%) of 1544 patients in whom sera were available, and 286 anti-HCV negative patients served as controls. Complete information was available in 496 (87%) of these 573 patients. Median follow-up was 73 months (range 1 to 110 months), during which time 302 (61%) patients underwent renal transplantation and 154 (31%) patients died. For anti-HCV positive patients compared to anti-HCV negative patients, the relative risk of death (and 95% confidence intervals) from all causes was 1.41 (1.01 to 1.97) and due to liver disease or infection was 2.39 (1.28 to 4.48). For patients who underwent transplantation compared to those who remained on dialysis, the relative risk of death from all causes between 0 to 3 months, 3 to 6 months, seven months to four years, and after four years was 4.75 (2.76 to 8.17), 1.76 (0.75 to 4.13), 0.31 (0.18 to 0.54) and 0.84 (0.51 to 1.37), respectively. There was no interaction between the effect of anti-HCV status as baseline and subsequent transplantation (P = 0.93), meaning that the association between treatment modality and survival was similar among anti-HCV positive and negative patients, at all intervals after transplantation. We conclude that HCV infection at the time of referral for transplantation is associated with an increased risk of death, irrespective of whether patients remain on dialysis or undergo transplantation. Transplantation has a beneficial rather than adverse effect on long-term survival in anti-HCV positive patients. Hence, anti-HCV positive status alone is not a contraindication for renal transplantation.