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J Med Virol. 2006 Sep;78(9):1185-9.

HCV-related morbidity in a rural community of Egypt.

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Department of Community, Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.


The origin of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemic in Egypt has been attributed to intravenous schistosomiasis treatment in rural areas in the 1960s to 70s. The objective of this study was to estimate the HCV-related morbidity in a rural area where mass schistosomiasis treatment campaigns took place 20-40 years before. The study sample included 2,425 village residents aged 18-65 years recruited through home-based visits. Overall, HCV antibody prevalence was 448/2,425 = 18.5% (95% CI = 16.9-20.1%), reaching 45% in males over 40 years, and 30% in females over 50 years. Of those with HCV antibodies, 284/448 (63.4%, 95% CI = 58.7-67.9%) had chronic HCV infection, among which 107/266 (40.2%, 95% CI = 34.3-46.4%) had elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT). As part of pre-treatment screening, 26 consenting patients had a liver biopsy: 13 (50.0%) had a treatment indication. Thus, of all patients with HCV antibodies, 13 (2.9%) were eligible for treatment and willing to be treated. The relatively low level of morbidity observed in this study is discussed in view of co-factors of HCV infection progression, such as young age at infection, absence of alcohol intake, the prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni infection, and the prevalence of chronic hepatitis B.

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