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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2000 Nov-Dec;63(5-6):236-41.

Hepatitis C in a community in Upper Egypt: I. Cross-sectional survey.

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  • 1Hepatitis C Prevention Project, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Egypt.


The prevalence of antibody to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) was determined in a cross-sectional survey in a village in Upper Egypt. Exposure and demographic characteristics were obtained through a questionnaire. Antibody to hepatitis C virus was assessed using a second generation enzyme immunoassay, and the presence of HCV RNA was tested using a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Collection of blood samples was targeted at those > or = 5 years old, and obtained from 62.8%. This report describes the community, the HCV infection characteristics of the subjects, and evaluates some factors associated with presence of anti-HCV. Of the 6,031 participants, 522 (8.7%) were anti-HCV positive. Prevalence was higher among males than females (11.3% versus 6.5%; P < 0.001). It was greater among those > 30 years of age than among those < or = 30 years of age (20.0% versus 3.6%; P < 0.001). Those who were less educated, farmed, provided health care, and were currently married had a significantly higher anti-HCV prevalence than those who were not; however, these associations were not significant after adjusting for age. Although active infections with Schistosoma haematobium were not associated with anti-HCV, a history of past infection was (age-adjusted risk ratio [RR] = 2.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.8, 2.4); 134 persons who had a history of receiving parenteral anti-schistosomal therapy had a higher age-adjusted RR (3.0; 95% CI = 2.5, 3.7) for anti-HCV than those who did not. Hepatitis C virus RNA was detected in 62.8% of the anti-HCV positive subjects, without significant variation by age, gender, education, or marital status. The prevalence of anti-HCV in Upper Egypt is high, albeit lower than in Lower Egypt, with continuing but limited transmission indicated by the lower prevalence in residents < or = 30 years old.

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