The Hepatitis C RNA PCR Qualitative test is used to look for infections with the Hepatitis C virus. This test looks for the genetic material of the virus. Because viral genetic material may be detectable earlier than antibodies which develop in response to an infection, PCR testing can be used to screen for a recent exposure. This test is also useful as a confirmation for patients who have had a positive result from a HCV Abs test. Results for this test are qualitative meaning they will come back as positive or negative.
Hepatitis C is a virus spread through contact with infected blood. Nearly 80% of Hepatitis C infections develop into chronic Hepatitis. The number of people worldwide with chronic Hepatitis C infections is around 150 million. Chronic Hepatitis C infections can lead to serious health complication such as Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer. Many HCV infections display no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, some of the most common include:
• Loss of appetite
• Abdominal pain
• Dark colored urine
• Grey feces
• Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
Hepatitis C can be spread in a variety of ways. Some of the most common include intravenous drug use, improperly cleaned or sterilized tattoo and piercing equipment, sexual contact, blood transfusions (prior to the early 1990's when stricter screening techniques were implemented for donated blood), and from an infected mother to her infant during birth.
The Hepatitis RNA PCR Qualitative test is most commonly ordered as a screening by patients who have had a recent exposure. Qualitative PCR testing is also ordered as a confirmatory test for someone who has had a positive result from a previous HCV test.
Patient who require a viral load test with quantitative results may wish to order the Hepatitis C RNA PCR Quantitative test. A Hepatitis C Abs test may be ordered as a screening for patients who do not require a recent exposure test.
Turnaround for the Hepatitis C RNA PCR Qualitative test is typically 5-7 business days.
The Hepatitis C PCR test can typically detect the virus after a few weeks after a suspected contact or exposure. Some people may be detectable earlier.
This Hepatitis C testing does not have any special requirements.