Prospective Study of Prevalence and Risk Factors for Hepatitis C in Pregnant Egyptian Women and Its Transmission to Their Infants

AbdulQawi, Khaled; Youssef, Ahmed; Metwally, Mohamed A.; Ragih, Ibrahim; AbdulHamid, Mohamed; Shaheen, AbdulAziz
June 2010
Croatian Medical Journal;Jun2010, Vol. 51 Issue 3, p219
Academic Journal
Aim To estimate the hepatitis C virus (HCV) vertical transmission rate, the effect of potential risk factors, and the pattern of HCV antibody response and viremia in HCV-infected infants in Benha, Egypt. Methods A total of 1224 pregnant women who were treated at Benha University Hospital, Egypt, were included in the study. They completed a questionnaire about risk factors for HCV acquisition and suspected risk factors for mother-to-infant transmission and were tested for HCV antibody using a third-generation ELISA test. Women positive for HCV antibody were tested for HCV RNA by polymerase chain reaction. Peripheral blood of infants of positive HCVRNA women was tested for HCV antibody and HCV-RNA at 1 and after 6 months of age. Results Out of 1224 pregnant women, 105 (8.6%; 95% confidence interval, 7.05-10.17) were positive for HCV antibody. Only 83 (6.8%; 5.39-7.21) were positive for HCV-RNA. HCV infection was associated with older age (1.16; 1.1-1.2, P = 0.001), blood transfusion (2.69; 1.2-6.0, P = 0.016), and HCV infection of the husband (5.47; 1.4-21, P = 0.014) or other household members (2.29; 1.2-4.6, P = 0.019). Out of 53 infants tested at first month, 43 (81%; 71-92%) were positive for HCV antibody, but only 7 (13%; 4.1-22%) were positive for HCV-RNA. After 6 months, only 2 (3.8%; 0-8.95%) remained positive for HCV RNA. Conclusions The prevalence of HCV in pregnant women in Egypt is lower than previously reported and the potential risk factors associated with HCV infection suggest intra- familial transmission. The frequency of vertical transmission of HCV in Egypt is not substantially different from other countries and does not play a role in the high prevalence of HCV in Egypt.


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