Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.
Identification of prevalent infection by hepatitis C virus (HCV) is based serologically on detecting anti-HCV immunoglobulin G, using immunoassays, immunoblot assays, and, more recently, immunochromatography-based rapid tests. None discriminate between active and resolved HCV infection. Tests for detecting HCV RNA identify active HCV infection but are costly. Serologic assays for HCV antigens have been developed and show potential for diagnosis of active HCV infection, and their performance characteristics are undergoing evaluation. The diagnosis of acute HCV infection without the demonstration of seroconversion remains elusive.