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World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Dec 7;15(45):5647-53.

Hepatitis C virus in Pakistan: a systematic review of prevalence, genotypes and risk factors.

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NUST Center of Virology and Immunology, National University of Sciences & Technology, Sector H-12 Islamabad, Pakistan.


In Pakistan more than 10 million people are living with Hepatitis C virus (HCV), with high morbidity and mortality. This article reviews the prevalence, genotypes and factors associated with HCV infection in the Pakistani population. A literature search was performed by using the keywords; HCV prevalence, genotypes and risk factors in a Pakistani population, in Pubmed, PakMediNet and Google scholar. Ninety-one different studies dating from 1994 to May 2009 were included in this study, and weighted mean and standard error of each population group was calculated. Percentage prevalence of HCV was 4.95% +/- 0.53% in the general adult population, 1.72% +/- 0.24% in the pediatric population and 3.64% +/- 0.31% in a young population applying for recruitment, whereas a very high 57% +/- 17.7% prevalence was observed in injecting drug users and 48.67% +/- 1.75% in a multi-transfused population. Most prevalent genotype of HCV was 3a. HCV prevalence was moderate in the general population but very high in injecting drug users and multi-transfused populations. This data suggests that the major contributing factors towards increased HCV prevalence include unchecked blood transfusions and reuse of injection syringes. Awareness programs are required to decrease the future burden of HCV in the Pakistani population.

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