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עמוד בית
Fri, 19.07.24

Reviews

IMAJ | volume 17

Journal 11, November 2015
pages: 707-711

Hepatitis C Virus in Children: Deferring Treatment in Expectation of Direct-Acting Antiviral Agents

    Summary

    The major route of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the pediatric age group is vertical, with infection occurring in up to 5% of infants born to mothers positive for HCV-RNA. The natural course of pediatric HCV infection is characterized by a high rate of spontaneous clearance, an asymptomatic clinical course, and normal or mild histologic changes. Cirrhosis is reported in 1–2% of children and progression to severe chronic liver disease and HCC occurs 20–30 years after infection. Treatment with pegylated interferon (Peg-IFN) + ribavirin results in a sustained viral response (SVR) of up to 100% in children with HCV genotypes 2 or 3 but only 45–55% in those infected with genotypes 1 or 4. Treatment is associated with adverse effects ranging from flu-like symptoms, myalgia, anemia and thrombocytopenia, to less commonly observed thyroid-related symptoms, alopecia, neuropsychiatric manifestations and possible long-term effects on growth. Ongoing trials with direct-acting antiviral agents in adults show promising results with treatment regimens of shorter duration and high tolerance. The next few years will likely see these advances introduced to the pediatric population as well. In the meantime, in children with HCV an expectant approach is advocated and treatment should be offered only to those at high risk for more severe, progressive disease. 

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