Hepatitis G Fact Sheet
Bloodborne Pathogens Section
- Hepatitis G Virus (HGV). Also known as GB virus-C (GBV-C)
- HGV and GB virus-C were discovered about the same time, and are
thought to be different strains of the same virus. Referred to
below as HGV/GBV-C.
- HGV/GBV-C was first described in 1995-96
- HGV/GBV-C is a single stranded RNA virus belonging to the
- Carrier rate of between 2 and 5% in the general
- Causes persistent infection for up to 9 years in 15-30% of
- HGV/GBV-C is often found in co-infections with other viruses,
such as hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and Human
Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- There is little proof that Hepatitis G (Hep G) causes serious
liver disease at any age. It is possible that HGV/GBV-C may not be
a true 'hepatitis' virus.
Signs and Symptoms
- Almost no cases have symptoms like the other Hepatitis
Modes of Transmission
- Transmitted by infected blood or blood products
- HGV/GBV-C can be transmitted by sharing personal items
contaminated with the virus and other similar behaviours
(parenterally), from mother-to-newborn child at birth (vertical),
or various sexual activities.
Persons at Risk
Recipients of infected blood or blood products
Injection Drug Users
People getting tattoos, acupuncture
or body piercings with tools that are not sterile
People with impaired immune response
People who engage in prostitution
- If you are regularly exposed to blood or blood products from
others, try to protect yourself with gloves to reduce the risk of
the spread of viruses.
- If you use injection drugs, ensure you use clean, sterile
needles. Sharing needles, syringes or other drug-use equipment with
others can put you at risk of infection.
- There is currently no recommended treatment for Hep G.
Canadian Data on the trends of HGV
- Evidence of HGV/GBV-C is found in 1-4% of the Canadian blood
donor population (2001).
Reference: Bloodborne Pathogens Section, Blood Safety
Surveillance and Health Care Acquired Infections Division, Health