III Clinica Pediatrica dell’Università di Firenze
Key words: HCV, Drug use, Vertical transmission (HCV)
Mother-to-child HCV transmission is an emergent problem, but risk factors for vertical transmission are still not completely known. Previous reports have shown extremely different transmission rates ranging from 5.6% to 36%. The importance of HIV- 1 coinfection in mothers has been repeatedly stressed. Few is known on the risk of HCV infection in children born to HIV-1 seronegative women. A multicentre prospective study was undertaken in Tuscany, Italy. Infection status (presence of HCV-RNA and viral load) and risk factors for infection in mothers, timing of HCV-RNA appearance in children, and risk factors for mother-tochild transmission (type of delivey, type of feeding, HCV genotypes) were investigated in 403 anti-HCV positive, anti-HIV negative mothers and their infants. The follow up was of 24-36 months. 13 children (3.2%) born from HCV-RNA positive mothers were infected. There was no association between breast-feeding, type of delivery or maternal viremia and risk of infant infection. The study also showed that intravenous drug use itself, not associated with HIV1 infection, may represent an important risk factor in perinatal transmission of HCV. In utero transmission seems to be a frequent event.
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