Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the principal cause of nonenteric non-A, non-B hepatitis worldwide. While it has been well documented that people with developmental disabilities are at an increased risk for infections with hepatitis B virus, little is known of the prevalence of HCV infection among this population.
Serum samples obtained from 113 evaluable outpatients with developmental disabilities at one center in suburban New York City (NY) were tested for antibodies to HCV and hepatitis B core antibody.
None of the 113 samples tested positive for HCV antibody by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, whereas 24 (21%) showed serologic evidence of past hepatitis B virus infection on the basis of hepatitis B core antibody positivity. Three (2.7%) were also positive for hepatitis B surface antigen.
In contrast to hepatitis B virus, HCV infection is uncommon among outpatients with developmental disabilities in suburban New York City. Further testing for HCV is indicated to determine if these results can be generalized to individuals within institutions, or to individuals in other geographic locations.(Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:2309-2311)