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Euro Surveill. 2015 Jun 4;20(22):21144.

Hepatitis C virus infection among pregnant women in Slovenia: study on 31,849 samples obtained in four screening rounds during 1999, 2003, 2009 and 2013.

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National Institute of Public Health, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


The majority of people infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are unaware of their infection. Assessment of the prevalence of HCV infection in the general population and in key populations at increased risk is needed for evidence-based testing policies. Our objectives were to estimate the prevalence of antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV), the prevalence of HCV viraemia (HCV RNA), and to describe HCV genotype distribution among pregnant women in Slovenia. Unlinked anonymous testing was performed on residual sera obtained from 31,849 pregnant women for routine syphilis screening during 1999, 2003, 2009, and 2013. Anti-HCV reactive specimens were tested for HCV RNA and HCV genotypes were determined. Annual prevalence of anti-HCV ranged between 0.09% (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.03–0.18) in 2009 and 0.21% (95% CI: 0.12–0.34) in 2003 and HCV RNA positivity between 0.06% (95% CI: 0.02–0.14) in 2009 and 0.14% (95% CI: 0.07–0.25) in 2003. We observed no statistically significant differences in anti-HCV or HCV RNA prevalence between age groups (<20, 20–29 and ≥30 years) in any year and no trend in time. Of 29 HCV active infections, 19 were with genotype 1 and 10 with genotype 3. HCV infection among pregnant women was rare suggesting a low burden in the Slovenian general population. Antenatal screening for HCV in Slovenia could not be recommended.

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