Seroprevalence and clinico-epidemiological correlates of hepatitis C viral antibodies at an antenatal booking clinic of a tertiary hospital in Nigeria
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This was to determine the sero-prevalence of hepatitis C viral (HCV) antibodies in pregnant women attending the first antenatal clinic and assess the epidemiologic correlates of women anti-HCV positive.
This was a prospective observational study which used in vitro diagnostic test kits to detect anti-HCV antibodies. Women attending their first antenatal clinic were recruited at the antenatal clinic of Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State, Nigeria. Seropositive women had liver enzymes assessed, and screening for hepatitis B surface antigen and Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) was done.
Eight out of 205 women were anti-HCV positive. The prevalence of hepatitis C infection was 3.9 %. The mean age of the women was 28.9 ± 2.1 years. Most (50 %) anti-HCV positive women had tertiary level education. Though health workers made up 3.5 % of the participants, they constituted 25 % women with anti-HCV antibody. Awareness of HCV infection had no impact on the rate of infection. Multiple sexual partners (P = 0.71), blood transfusion (0.64) and female circumcision (P = 1.00) were not significant risks of infection. 2 (1 %) women had hepatitis B co-infection and 1 (12.5 %) woman had both HCV antibody and HIV co-infection.
Despite the 3.9 % prevalence, routine screening for hepatitis C virus infection in pregnancy is unjustified. Risk-based screening using locally prevailing risk factors with antenatal monitoring and postpartum treatment of women with hepatitis C antibodies is recommended.
KeywordsHepatitis C virus Hepatitis in pregnancy
Conflict of interest
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