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Br J Cancer. 2002 Jul 29;87(3):314-8.

Hepatitis B and C virus prevalence in a rural area of South Korea: the role of acupuncture.

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Division of Cancer Control and Epidemiology, National Cancer Center Research Institute, 809 Madu-dong, Ilsan-Gu, Koyang, Kyonggi, 411-764 South Korea.


A cross-sectional study evaluated the prevalence of and the risk factors for hepatitis C and B viruses among 700 adults above the age of 40 years in a rural area of South Korea. Seropositivity for hepatitis C virus antibody (11.0%, 95% confidence interval: 8.7-13.6) was higher than that for hepatitis B surface antigen (4.4%, 95% confidence interval: 3.0-6.2). Anti-hepatitis C virus seropositivity was associated with a history of repeated acupuncture (odds ratio=2.1, 95% confidence interval: 1.1-4.0), and blood transfusion (odds ratio=5.5, 95% confidence interval: 1.6-19.3) before 1992 when hepatitis C virus screening in blood donors became mandatory. Hepatitis C virus 2a was the most prevalent genotype, followed by 1b. Hepatitis C virus risk attributable to acupuncture was 38% (9% for men and 55% for women). Safer acupuncture practice has become a priority for hepatitis C virus prevention in South Korea.

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