Frequent reinfection and reactivation of hepatitis C virus genotypes in multitransfused hemophiliacs.
Jarvis LM., Watson HG., McOmish F., Peutherer JF., Ludlam CA., Simmonds P.
The frequency and dynamics of infection with different genotypes of hepatitis C virus were investigated in a cohort of hemophiliacs repeatedly exposed to non-virus-inactivated clotting factor. Among 63 infected hemophiliacs, genotype 1 (n = 38, subtypes 1a  and 1b ) was predominant; genotypes 2a (n = 1), 2b (n = 3), 3a (n = 20), and 5a (n = 1) accounted for the remainder. This distribution was similar to that found in Scottish blood donors from whom the infected blood products were manufactured. Hemophiliacs with severe disease were more likely to be polymerase chain reaction-positive than those with moderate or mild disease. Over 10 years, changes in the circulating major genotype and serotype were observed in 9 of 29 hemophiliacs and from one subtype to another in 3, although there was no clear trend toward replacement with any particular variant. Replacement occurred after the introduction of inactivated clotting factor in 4 subjects, implicating reactivation rather than reinfection. Those coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus were more likely to show a change in genotype.