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What is the chance of a false-positive hepatitis C test?

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In a good quality study, the false-positive rate of a hepatitis C enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or ELISA, test is around 3 percent, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. False-positives from antibody tests occur when antibodies are present, but the patient is not infected, according to WebMD.

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ELISA tests are used to check for the presence of antibodies that suggest hepatitis C infection. Positive predictive values of 50 to 61 percent are reported for second-generation ELISA tests and a 78 percent predictive value for third-generation tests, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. False-positives are more likely to occur in patients with a lower risk of hepatitis C infection, for example blood donors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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