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Med Clin (Barc). 2002 Jun 22;119(3):90-5.

[Prevalence of hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses in different counties of Catalonia, Spain: cross-sectional study].

[Article in Spanish]

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Societat Catalana de Digestologia, Acadèmia de Ciències Mèdiques de Catalunya i Balears, Barcelona, Spain.



There are few data available in our community regarding the prevalence of hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) virus infection in the general population.


The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and serologic characteristics of HBV and HCV in Catalonia. For this purpose, HBsAg and anti-HCV were assessed in serum aliquots obtained from a sample of 2194 individuals, who were chosen at random out from different Catalonian counties. In those cases in which any of the markers were positive, the following analyses were performed afterwards: serum transaminases, HBV-DNA detection by PCR (in HBsAg positives) and HCV-RNA detection by PCR and genotypes (in antiHCV positives). All subjects yielding positive results were interviewed in order to determine possible risk factors.


HBV prevalence was 1.69% (95% CI, 1.62-1.76) and that of HCV was 2.64% (95% CI, 2.53-2.75). HCV prevalence increased with age (1.7% in younger than 50 years and 3.6% in older than 50 years, p < 0.01), but not that of HBV. Only a small proportion (12.1%) of HBV carriers had detectable HBV-DNA levels. On the contrary, quite an important proportion of HCV carriers (68.6%) had detectable HCV-RNA levels. Predominant HCV genotype was 1 (79.3%). Transaminases levels were within normal limits in many HBV and HCV carriers (70.9 and 60%, respectively).


Prevalence of HBV and HCV in Catalonia was 1.69% and 2.64%, respectively. Most HCV carriers had positive serum HCV-RNA, whereas serum HBV-DNA was negative in most HBV carriers

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