3 years ago

Prevalence of hepatitis C infection and its associated factors in healthy adults without identifiable route of transmission

Shui Shan Lee, Hoi Kei Wong, Siu Cheung Ng, Cheuk Kwong Lee, Denise P. C Chan, Ngai Sze Wong
While hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is long known to be associated with parenteral exposure, the specific route of transmission is not identified in a proportion of infected patients. Taking blood donors as the surrogate of healthy adults in the community in Hong Kong, we identified 91 HCV infected donors (≤0.02% positive rate) in 2014-2016, of whom 46 were recruited in a mixed method study to examine their transmission routes. A majority (75%) of the recruited donors were HCV RNA positive, with the predominant subtypes being 1b and 6a. From the results of structured self-administered questionnaire and in-depth interviews, only 14 (30%) recruited donors could be traced to past history of contaminated blood transfusion (n=9) or injection drug use (n=5). Case-control analyses with 3 different control groups were performed to examine factors associated with HCV infection in multivariable analyses. High risk sexual behaviour, body piercing, intramuscular injection and vaccine inoculation abroad, having lived abroad for > 3 months were significantly associated with HCV in donors with otherwise non-identifiable source of infection. While the specific route of transmission cannot be established for each person, associations with multiple parenteral exposures outside Hong Kong were observed. The World Health Organisation has advocated for the global elimination of HCV by 2030. With a high proportion of HCV infected persons who are unaware of their infections, HCV elimination could be hard to achieve. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/jvh.12804

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