CDC guidelines on testing for anti-HCV - Brief Article

Author: Carrie Morantz, Brian Torrey
Date: March 15, 2003

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidelines for laboratory testing and result reporting of antibody to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV). The recommendations are available online at mmwrhtml/rr5203a1.htm.

According to the guidelines, anti-HCV testing should include an antibody screening assay and, for screening test-positive results, a more specific supplemental assay. Verifying the presence of anti-HCV minimizes unnecessary medical visits and psychologic harm for persons who test falsely positive by screening assays. It also ensures that proper counseling, medical referral, and evaluation are targeted for patients with serologically confirmed HCV infection.

There is substantial variation among laboratories in reflex supplemental testing. Despite previous recommendations for supplemental testing of all anti-HCV screening test-positive results, the majority of laboratories report positive anti-HCV results based only on a positive screening assay. The new recommendations address this problem by expanding the recommended anti-HCV testing algorithm to include an option for more specific testing based on the signal-to-cut-off (s/co) ratios of screening test-positive results. This testing can be implemented without substantial increases in testing costs.

COPYRIGHT 2003 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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