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BMC Infect Dis. 2019 Aug 5;19(1):688. doi: 10.1186/s12879-019-4322-7.

Risk factors for viral hepatitis C infection in Rwanda: results from a nationwide screening program.

Author information

IHDPC Department, Rwanda Biomedical Center, Po Box 7162, Kigali, Rwanda.
Health Department, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Kigali, Rwanda.
IHDPC Department, Rwanda Biomedical Center, Po Box 7162, Kigali, Rwanda.
School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Division of Global Health Equity, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, USA.
Department of Infectious Disease at the Alfred Hospital and Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, Monash University in Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.



The epidemiology and risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Rwanda are not well known; however, this information is crucial to shaping the country's public health approach to hepatitis C control.


A HCV screening campaign was conducted in the general population in 24 districts previously identified to have a high HCV disease burden. At the time of sample collection, sociodemographic information and self-reported risk factors were collected. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to assess risk factors independently associated with hepatitis C antibodies (HCVAb) seroprevalence.


Out of a total of 326,263 individuals screened for HCVAb, 22,183 (6.8%) were positive. In multivariate analysis, risk factors identified as statistically associated with HCVAb Seroprevalence include history of traditional operation or scarification (OR = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.05-1.14), presence of viral hepatitis in the family (OR = 1.27, 95% CI: 1.15-1.40), widowed or separated/divorced (OR = 1.36, 95% CI: 1.26-1.47), Southern province (OR = 1.98, 95% CI: 1.88-2.08) and aged 65 years and older (OR = 4.86, 95% CI: 4.62-5.11). Ubudehe category 3 (OR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.93-1.01) and participants using RAMA (Health insurances for employees of public and private sectors) insurance (OR = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.70-0.85) had lower odds of HCV seroprevalence.


Our findings provide important information for Rwanda's strategy on prevention and case-finding. Future prevention interventions should aim to reduce transmission through targeted messaging around traditional healing practices and case-finding targeting individuals with a history of exposure or advanced age.


Risk factors; Rwanda; Viral hepatitis C

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