, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 523-529
Date: 09 Apr 2010

Risk factors, genotype 6 prevalence, and clinical characteristics of chronic hepatitis C in Southeast Asian Americans

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Abstract

Purpose

Although infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects 32 million individuals from Southeast Asia, little is known about the mode of HCV acquisition and the epidemiology of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) in these individuals. Our goal was to examine risk factors for HCV acquisition, prevalence, and clinical characteristics of HCV genotype 6 compared with genotypes 1 and 2/3 in Southeast Asian (SEA) patients.

Methods

We performed a cross-sectional study of 308 consecutive SEA Americans with CHC evaluated by five gastroenterologists from January 2000 to December 2008 at two community clinics in northern California via medical record review, using a case report form.

Results

A significant proportion of patients (41%) could not recall any specific risk factors for HCV acquisition. The most commonly reported risk factor in patients who reported at least one risk factor was history of surgeries (34%), followed by blood transfusion (25%) and acupuncture (13%). Among patients with core sequence testing for HCV genotype (n = 181), the most common HCV genotypes were genotype 1 (42%) and genotype 6 (41%), followed by genotype 2/3 (17%). There were no major differences in the clinical and virological characteristics between the different genotype groups (1 vs. 2/3 vs. 6).

Conclusion

HCV genotype 6 is as common as genotype 1 in SEAs. Commonly known risk factors for HCV acquisition were not readily identifiable in a large proportion of SEA Americans (41%) and may not be useful in identifying at-risk individuals for HCV screening in this population.