Risk Factors of Hepatitis C Infection among Egyptian Blood Donors

Article excerpt

SUMMARY

Background: Surveillance of infectious disease markers in the blood donor population is important in recognizing trends in prevalence and incidence of transfusion related infections in asymptomatic volunteer blood donors.

Subjects and Methods: It was a cross sectional study. Samples were collected from volunteer blood donors and questionnaire was designed to collect the risk factors data. The prevalence of hepatitis C antibodies among 1,000 apparently healthy blood donors were determined.

Objective: To estimate the prevalence of virus C hepatic infection and to illustrate the various socio-economic, behavioural and medical factors related to infection with Hepatitis C (HCV) among apparently healthy individuals. It contributed to analysis of the particularities of Egyptian blood donors and helped to better understand the challenges and solutions of blood safety.

Results: The prevalence of HCV was 16.8%. There was an association of positive anti-HCV test with socio-demographic, medical and behavioural risk factors.

Conclusion: This study provided comprehensive and reliable information on the possible risk factors affecting spread of Hepatitis C in the area.

Key words: HCV, risk factors, blood

INTRODUCTION

Hepatitis C virus (HCV)5 first identified in 1989, is strictly a blood-borne RNA viral infection in the family Flaviviridae. Humans are the only reservoir for this viral infection (1). Despite that Hepatitis C is one of the most frequent infections associated with blood transfusion; it was the HIV epidemic that alerted general public to the importance of serological tests in blood banks (2). Hepatitis C is a serious global public health problem. An estimated 170 million people were chronically infected with hepatitis C virus and 3-4 million people are newly infected each year (3). Available data suggest that only between 10% and 40% of people with HCV in Europe are aware of their infection (up to 90% of the prevalent pool are undiagnosed in such countries as Germany or Poland) (4).

The Middle East and North Africa region suffers from high prevalence of unnecessary medical injections and transfusions, reuse of needles and syringes, needle -stick injuries among health care workers, and skin scarifications (1). Hepatitis C is now recognized as the primary cause of transfusion associated with non A non B hepatitis. Hepatitis C is a major cause of chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Patients can live for many years without experiencing symptoms, and as a consequence, large number of cases remain undiagnosed. In more than 50% of infected individuals chronic hepatitis with serious and possibly life threatening sequel such as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma will develop (HCC) (5). About 80% of newly infected patients progress to develop chronic infection. Cirrhosis develops in about 10% to 20% of persons with chronic infection, and liver cancer develops in 1% to 5% of persons with chronic infection over a period of 20 to 30 years (6).

Numerous HCV prevalence studies in Egypt have published various estimates from different Egyptian communities, suggesting that Egypt, relative to the other nations of the world, might be experiencing intense ongoing HC V transmission (1).

In middle 20th-century Egypt, iatrogenic transmission of the hepatitis C virus occurred during the treatment of schistosomiasis with tartar emetic administered intravenously using hastily sterilized reusable syringes and needles (7). Egypt has a very high prevalence of HCV and high morbidity and mortality rates from chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Approximately 20% of Egyptian blood donors were anti-HCV positive (3).

SUBJECTS AND METHODS

This was a cross sectional study, the total number of blood donors tested was 1,000 subjects volunteered to donate blood in Kaser Al Ani hospital blood bank, Cairo, Egypt. …