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Gut. 2004 Apr;53(4):593-8.

Hepatitis C virus among childbearing women in Scotland: prevalence, deprivation, and diagnosis.

Author information

  • 1Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health, and Public Health and Health Policy Section, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK. sharon.hutchinson@scieh.csa.scot.nhs.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

(A) To examine the prevalence and demographic characteristics of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among childbearing women in Scotland; and (B) to determine the extent of maternal HCV infection diagnosed prior to birth.

METHODS:

(A) Residual dried blood spot samples from routine neonatal screening, collected throughout Scotland during March-October 2000, were unlinked from identifiers and tested anonymously for HCV antibodies; and (B) electronic record linkage of Scotland's databases of births and diagnosed HCV infections was performed.

RESULTS:

(A) Of 30,259 samples, 121 were enzyme linked immunosorbent assay repeat reactive and 88 of these were confirmed as anti-HCV positive in the recombinant immunoblot assay, representing a seroprevalence of 0.29-0.40%. HCV seroprevalence was high among 25-29 year olds (0.4-0.57%), in high deprivation areas (0.92-1.07%), and in Greater Glasgow (0.83-0.96%) and Grampian (0.38-0.62%). Adjusted relative risk for HCV infection was highest among residents in high deprivation areas of Glasgow (7.2 (95% confidence interval 2.0-25.5)). (B) Of 121 HCV infections found among women at delivery, 24% and 46% were estimated to have been diagnosed prior to pregnancy and birth, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

HCV prevalence among Scottish childbearing women is consistent with that expected from injecting drug use. Based on reported rates of mother to child transmission, 8-11 paediatric infections are expected per annum. Diagnosis in only 24% of infected women prior to pregnancy indicates the extent to which HCV goes unrecognised in the injecting community. The current HCV screening approach-to test only those with a history of injecting drug use (or other risk factors for infection)-identifies approximately a quarter of previously undetected infections among pregnant women.

PMID:
15016757
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1774001
Free PMC Article
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