Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in General Population of Mashhad, Northeastern Iran
Background: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection is one of the major blood-borne infections worldwide. HCV carriers may develop chronic hepatitis leading to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). There is no overall estimate of the infection prevalence in the northeast of Iran. We have performed this research in order to determine accurately the prevalence and risk factors of HCV infection among general population in Mashhad.
Methods: During 2009, 1678 people between 1 to 90 yr old with the mean age of 29.1±18.5 yr were selected randomly by multistage sampling from different geographical regions of the city proportionate to sex and age distribution of population in 2006 census. ELISA was used to screen for antibodies and RT-PCR tested the positive samples.
Results: HCV infection was detected in 7/1654 cases; overall prevalence of the infection was 0.42% (95%CI: 0.17-0.87%), 0.80% and 0.11% among males and females, respectively (P= 0.051). One HCV-infected subject was also positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), however, no cases showed HIV or HTLV seropositivity.
Conclusion: In comparison with similar studies, the prevalence of HCV infection in Mashhad is low.
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