Prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus and association with intravenous drug abuse and tattooing in a national prison in Norway

  • D. S. Holsen
  • S. Harthug
  • H. Myrmel


A study was performed in order to determine the prevalence of anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies, the risk factors for HCV infection and the markers of hepatic disease in a population of prisoners. Of 101 new prisoners admitted to a Norwegian national prison over a three month period, 70 were included in the study, of whom 32 (46 %) were anti-HCV positive. Intravenous drug abuse was the predominant risk factor for HCV infection, although a history of tattooing was found by logistic regression analysis to be a significant risk factor independent of intravenous drug abuse. Most anti-HCV positive prisoners had a history of previous incarcerations. Among the anti-HCV positive subjects, increased alanine aminotransferase (>50 U/l) was found in 23 (72 %). HCV infection was the major cause of hepatic abnormalities in the study population. Only 15 (47 %) of the anti-HCV positive prisoners reported knowledge of previous hepatic disease.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Dye S, Isaacs C Intravenous drug misuse among prison inmates: implications for spread of HIV. British Medical Journal 1991, 302: 1506.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kennedy DH, Nair G, Elliot L, Ditton J Drug misuse and sharing of needles in Scottish prisons. British Medical Journal 1991, 302:1507.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Prefontaine RG Seroepidemiologic study of hepatitis B and C viruses in Federal correctional institutions in British Columbia. Canadian Disease Weekly Report 1990, 16: 265–266.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Alter MJ, Hadler SC, Judson FN, Mares A, Alexander WJ, Hu PA, Miller JK, Moyer LA, Fields HA, Bradley DW, Margolis HS Risk factors for acute non-A, non-B hepatitis in the United States and association with hepatitis C virus infection. Journal of the American Medical Association 1990, 264: 2231–2235.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Widell A, Hansson BG, Berntorp E, Moestrup T, Johansson HP, Hansson H, Nordenfelt E Antibody to a hepatitis C virus related protein among patients at high risk for hepatitis B. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases 1991, 23: 19–24.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Girardi E, Zaccarelli M, Tossini G, Puro V, Narciso P, Visco G Hepatitis C virus infection in intravenous drug users: prevalence and risk factors. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases 1990, 22: 751–752.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kielland KB, Siebke JC Hepatitis A-, B- and C- markers among Norwegian drug addicts 1975–89. Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association 1991, 111: 821–824.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Tor J, Llibre JM, Carbonell M, Muga R, Ribera A, Soriano V, Clotet B, Sabria M, Foz M Sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus and its relation with hepatitis B virus and HIV. British Medical Journal 1990, 301: 1130–1133.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Meyer RA, Gordon SC Epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection in a suburban Detroit community. American Journal of Gastroenterology 1991, 86: 1224–1226.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Abildgaard N, Peterslund NA Hepatitis C virus transmitted by tattooing needle. Lancet 1991, 338:460.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Esteban JI, Lopez-Talavera JC, Genesca J, Madoz P, Vildomiu L, Muniz E, Martin-Vega C, Rosell M, Allende H, Vidal X, Gonzalez A, Hernandez JM, Esteban R, Guardia J High rate of infectivity and liver disease in blood donors with antibodies to hepatitis C virus. Annals of Internal Medicine 1991, 115: 443–449.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Iwamura K, Pronai L, Nishioka K, Watanabe J Incidence of hepatitis C in chronic liver disease following tattooing. Orvosi Hetilap 1992, 133: 923–925.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ko YC, Ho MS, Chang SJ, Chang PY Tattooing as a risk of hepatitis C virus infection. Journal of Medical Virology 1992, 38: 288–291.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Norusis MJ The SPSS guide to data analysis for release 4. SPSS, Chicago 1990.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mattson AL, Grillner L, Weiland O Seroconversion to hepatitis C virus antibodies in patients with acute posttransfusion nonA-, nonB-hepatitis in Sweden with 2nd generation testing. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases 1992, 24: 15–20.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn Verlagsgesellschaft mbH 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. S. Holsen
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Harthug
    • 3
  • H. Myrmel
    • 4
  1. 1.Health ServiceBergen National PrisonBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department of DermatovenereologyThe Gade Institute, Haukeland HospitalBergenNorway
  3. 3.Department of MedicineThe Gade Institute, Haukeland HospitalBergenNorway
  4. 4.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyThe Gade Institute, Haukeland HospitalBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations