, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 145-151,
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Seronegative Hepatitis C Virus Infection

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of liver disease worldwide. The routine diagnostics identifying HCV infection include testing for specific anti-HCV antibodies by enzyme-linked immnunosorbent assay and viral genetic material in serum or plasma. However, a small proportion of patients persistently infected with HCV, in whom anti-HCV are undetectable, constitute a serious diagnostic and possibly epidemiologic problem, as they could facilitate pathogen spread in the population. This type of infection is termed seronegative or serosilent. Seronegative HCV infection is currently of great interest to both scientists and physicians. The review presents epidemiological data concerning the prevalence of seronegative HCV infection in HIV/HCV co-infected individuals, hemodialysis patients, and blood and organ donors. The possible mechanisms behind this atypical course of infection are discussed. Furthermore, the differences between seronegative and occult infections and prolonged seroconversion are explained.