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Gastroenterology 1992 Apr;102(4 Pt 1):1306-1308

Absence of hepatitis C viral RNA from saliva and semen of patients with chronic hepatitis C.

Fried MW, Shindo M, Fong TL, Fox PC, Hoofnagle JH, Di Bisceglie AM

Liver Diseases Section, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

Body fluids from 14 patients with chronic hepatitis C were analyzed for the presence of hepatitis C viral RNA using the polymerase chain reaction. Nucleic acids were extracted from serum, saliva, and semen in guanidinium thiocyanate, subjected to reverse transcription, and then amplified by a double polymerase chain reaction technique using “nested” primers from the highly conserved 5′ non-coding region of the hepatitis C virus genome. Hepatitis C viral RNA was found in the serum of all patients in titers ranging between 10(-1) and 10(-3). The hepatitis C viral genome was not detected in any saliva or semen sample. These findings suggest that body fluids of patients with chronic hepatitis C are rarely, if ever, contaminated with the hepatitis C virus. This may help to explain the infrequent transmission of this disease by sexual or close physical contact.

PMID: 1312976, UI: 92201569

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