We evaluated the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Italian patients suffering from Fibromyalgia (FM), in comparison with patients affected by non-HCV related rheumatic degenerative disorders.
Consecutive patients with FM and a statistically comparable group of patients suffering from peripheral osteoarthritis (OA) or sciatica due to L4-L5 or L5-S1 herniated disc were tested for HCV infection with a third-generation microparticle enzyme immunoassay (MEIA). In the positive cases, a third-generation recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA) confirmatory test and serum HCV-RNA test were performed. Fisher's exact test was performed to compare the prevalence of HCV infection (MEIA- and RIBA-positive results) obtained in the two enrolled groups.
Enrolled were 152 subjects suffering from FM and 152 patients with peripheral OA or sciatica.
Anti-HCV antibodies were found in 7 of 152 (4.6%) patients suffering from FM and in 5 of 152 (3.3%) of control subjects. No statistically significant differences in HCV prevalence were detected between cases and controls.
Our present report does not confirm previous data indicating an increased prevalence of HCV in FM patients and does not seem to support a significant pathogenetic role of HCV under this condition.
Source: Clinical Rheumatology. 2007 Oct 18; PMID: 17943229, by Palazzi C, D'Amico E, D'Angelo S, Nucera A, Petricca A, Olivieri I.
Division of Rheumatology, Villa Pini Clinic, Chieti, Italy.