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NOTE: A surveillance case definition is a set of uniform criteria used to define a disease for public health surveillance. Surveillance case definitions enable public health officials to classify and count cases consistently across reporting jurisdictions. Surveillance case definitions are not intended to be used by healthcare providers for making a clinical diagnosis or determining how to meet an individual patient’s health needs.

CSTE Position Statement(s)

  • 09-ID-40
  • 1997-ID-10

Clinical Description

An acute illness with a discrete onset of any sign or symptom consistent with acute viral hepatitis (e.g., anorexia, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting), and either a) jaundice, or b) serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels >400 IU/L

Laboratory Criteria For Diagnosis

One or more of the following three criteria:

  • Antibodies to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) screening-test-positive with a signal to cut-off ratio predictive of a true positive as determined for the particular assay as defined by CDC. (URL for the signal to cut-off ratios:, OR
  • Hepatitis C Virus Recombinant Immunoblot Assay (HCV RIBA) positive, OR
  • Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) for HCV RNA positive

AND, meets the following two criteria:

  • Immunoglobulin M antibody to hepatitis A virus (IgM anti-HAV) negative, AND
  • IgM antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (IgM anti-HBc) negative

Case Classification


A case that meets the clinical case definition, is laboratory confirmed, and is not known to have chronic hepatitis C.


The 2007 case definition appearing on this page was re-published in the 2009 CSTE position statement 09-ID-40. Thus, the 2007 and 2010 versions of the case definition are identical.

Related Case Definition(s)