chapter  3
Diagnosis and management of chronic hepatitis C virus infection
Pages 22

A small proportion of patients have detectable antibodies but are persistently ‘PCR-negative’ – they have undetectable viraemia. In our practice this is unusual and most patients are viraemic at the time of referral. Such patients have presumably been exposed to hepatitis C virus but have eliminated the virus spontaneously. Once this diagnosis has been confirmed no further follow-up is required, but it is important to test the hepatitis C PCR on at least two separate occasions since low level, fluctuating viraemia may confound the diagnosis.