- Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is usually established by detection of serum antibodies (anti-HCV). This study was conducted in order to evaluate whether saliva and urine may substitute serum for anti-HCV detection. Serum, saliva, and urine were obtained simultaneously from 141 patients with a variety of liver diseases and from 52 patients with autoimmune diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus n = 27 and rheumatoid arthritis n = 25). The cell free fraction of saliva and urine samples was tested for anti-HCV using a modification of a serum anti-HCV kit. Western blot analysis was used as a confirmation method. Of the patients with liver diseases, 73 were anti-HCV-seropositive. Salivary and urinary anti-HCV could be detected in 66 (90%) and 36 (49%) of the anti-HCV-serpositive patients, respectively. The presence of anti-HCV in saliva or urine was not related to the severity of liver disease. All the anti-HCV-seronegative liver patients were negative for salivary anti-HCV and 22 (32%) had urinary anti-HCV. The patients with autoimmune diseases were all anti-HCV-seronegative. None had detectable salivary anti-HCV while 33 (63%) were positive for urinary anti-HCV. Western Blot analysis confirmed the presence of anti-HCV in all serum and saliva samples tested but only in 2/12 urine samples. The results suggest that saliva, but not urine, may serve as a substitute for serum for the determination of anti-HCV positivity. J. Med. Virol. 55:24–27, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.