Between 1992 and 1997, 790 blood donors with anti-HCV EIA-2 strongly reagent (relationship between the sample optical density/cut-off > 3) detected at the blood bank serological screening, were evaluated in ambulatory environment. They were all negative for Chagas disease, syphilis, hepatitis B (HBsAg) and AIDS. Blood samples were collected at the first ambulatorial evaluation, for hemogram, biochemical tests and new serological tests for HCV (anti-HCV EIA-2). In blood samples of 226 repeatedly reagent anti-HCV EIA-2 blood donors, supplementary "immunoblot" test for HCV (RIBA-2) was used. In 209 donors, the presence of HCV-RNA was investigated by the PCR test. The abdominal ultrasonography was realized in 366 donors. In 269 patients liver biopsy was performed for the histopathological study. The follow-up of blood donors showed that 95.6% were repeatedly EIA-2 reagent, 94% were symptomless and denied any hepatitis history, with only 2% mentioning previous jaundice. In 47% of this population at least one risk factor has been detected for the HCV transmission, the use of intravenous drugs being the main one (27.8%). Blood transfusion was the second factor for HCV transmission (27.2%). Hepatomegaly was detected in 54% of the cases. Splenomegaly and signs of portal hypertension have seldom been found in the physical examination, indicating a low degree of hepatic compromising in HCV. Abdominal ultrasound showed alterations in 65% of the subjects, being the steatosis the most frequent (50%). In 83. 5% of the donors submitted to the liver biopsy, the histopathological exam showed the presence of chronic hepatitis, usually classified as active (89%) with mild or moderate grade in most of the cases (99.5%). The histopathological exam of the liver was normal in 1.5% of blood donors. The RIBA-2 test and the HCV-RNA investigation by PCR were positive in respectively 91.6 and 75% of the anti-HCV EIA-2 reagent donors. The HCV-RNA research was positive in 82% of the RIBA-2 positive subjects, in 37.5% of the indeterminate RIBA-2 donors and in 9% of the negative RIBA-2 donors. Chronic hepatitis has also been observed in 50% of the histopathological exams of the anti-HCV EIA-2 reagent donors which were indeterminate RIBA-2. Among 18 blood donors with minimal changes histopathological exam 11 (61%) were HCV-RNA positive. Our blood donors anti-HCV reagent generally had clinical, laboratorial and histopathological features observed in patients with chronic HCV hepatitis and a high proportion could be identified in interviews and medical evaluation realized in blood blanks. Generally, these HCV infected donors are identified and discharged only by the serological tests results.