Hepatitis C virus (HCV) vertical transmission in 12-month-old infants born to HCV-infected women and assessment of maternal risk factors

Ravi Jhaveri*, Mohamed Hashem, Samer S. El-Kamary, Doa'a A. Saleh, Sahar A. Sharaf, Fatma El-Mougy, Lobna Abdelsalam, Mohamed Ehab, Hesham El-Ghazaly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an underappreciated cause of pediatric liver disease, most frequently acquired by vertical transmission (VT). Current guidelines that include the option of screening infants for HCV RNA at 1-2 months are based on data prior to current real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based testing. Previous studies have demonstrated VT rates of 4%-15% and an association with high maternal viral load. We evaluated HCV RNA in infants with HCV VT and assessed maternal risk factors in a prospective cohort in Cairo, Egypt. Methods. Pregnant women were screened for HCV from December 2012 to March 2014. For those with HCV viremia, their infants were tested at 12 months for HCV RNA using real-time PCR. Maternal risk factors assessed for HCV VT association included HCV RNA levels, mode of delivery, and maternal IL28B genotype. Results. Of 2514 women screened, a total of 54 women were viremic (2.1%) and delivered 56 infants. Of those, 51 infants of 49 women were tested at 12 months of age. Only 7 infants were viremic, with an HCV VT rate of 14.3% (7 of 49). Median HCV RNA in the infants was 2100 IU/mL. None of the maternal risk factors analyzed were associated with transmission. Conclusions. In Egypt where HCV is highly endemic, we observed an overall 12-month HCV VT rate of 14.3%. Further studies should focus on better identification of pregnant women more likely to vertically transmit HCV and earlier testing of infants to identify those likely to develop chronicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberofv089
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Egypt
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Infants
  • Vertical transmission
  • Viral load

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology


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