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World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Jul 7;17(25):3027-34. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i25.3027.

Prevalence, genotypes and factors associated with HCV infection among prisoners in Northeastern Brazil.

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Department of Medicine, Federal University of Sergipe, Aracaju, Sergipe 49060-100, Brazil.



To determine hepatitis C virus (HCV) seroprevalence and its genotypes, and to identify the factors associated with HCV infection.


This cross-sectional study, conducted in two prisons (one male and one female) in the State of Sergipe, Brazil, comprised 422 subjects. All of the prisoners underwent a rapid test for the detection of HCV antibodies. Patients with a positive result were tested for anti-HCV by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and for HCV RNA by qualitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The virus genotype was defined in every serum sample that presented positive for PCR-HCV. In order to determine the factors independently associated with positive serology for HCV, multivariate logistic regression was used.


HCV seroprevalence was 3.1%. Of the 13 subjects with positive anti-HCV, 11 had viremia confirmed by PCR. Of these, 90.9% had genotype 1. A total of 43 (10.2%) were injecting drug users, and HCV seroprevalence in this subgroup was 20.6%. The variable most strongly associated with positive serology for HCV was use of injecting drugs [odds ratio (OR), 23.3; 95% confidence interval (CI), 6.0-90.8]. Age over 30 years (OR, 5.5; 95%CI, 1.1-29.2), history of syphilis (OR, 9.8; 95%CI, 1.7-55.2) and history of household contact with HCV positive individual (OR, 14.1; 95%CI, 2.3-85.4) were also independently associated with HCV infection.


Most of the HCV transmissions result from parenteral exposure. However, there is evidence to suggest a role for sex and household contact with an infected subject in virus transmission.


Brazil; Cross sectional analysis; Drug abusers; Hepatitis C; Prisoners

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