Hepatitis C in Laos: A 7-Year Retrospective Study on 1765 Patients
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a global health concern, notably in Southeast Asia, and in Laos the presentation of the HCV-induced liver disease is poorly known. Our objective was thus to describe a comprehensive HCV infection pattern in order to guide national health policies. A study on a group of 1765 patients formerly diagnosed by rapid test in health centres was conducted at the Centre of Infectiology Lao Christophe Merieux in Vientiane. The demographic information of patients, their infection status (viral load: VL), liver function (aminotransferases) and treatments were analysed. Results showed that gender distribution of infected people was balanced; with median ages of 53.8 for men and 51.6 years for women (13–86 years). The majority of patients (72%) were confirmed positive (VL > 50 IU/mL) and 28% of them had high VL (> 6log10). About 23% of patients had level of aminotransferases indicative of liver damage (> 40 IU/mL); but less than 20% of patients received treatment. Patients rarely received a second sampling or medical imaging. The survey also showed that cycloferon, pegylated interferon and ribavirin were the drugs prescribed preferentially by the medical staff, without following any international recommendations schemes. In conclusion, we recommend that a population screening policy and better management of patients should be urgently implemented in the country, respecting official guidelines. However, the cost of biological analysis and treatment are significant barriers that must be removed. Public health resolutions should be immediately enforced in the perspective of meeting the WHO HCV elimination deadline by 2030.
KeywordsHepatitis C virus (HCV) HCV incidence Antiviral agents Laos
We would like to express our sincere thanks to medical staff and patients. Phimpha Paboriboune was supported by CILM, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Campus France and the Fondation Mérieux. We are grateful to Elizabeth Elliott for editing assistance.
P. Paboriboune, TV, PS, ED made substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data. SB, CT, PD, FXB, NS, P. Pineau were involved in drafting the manuscript or revising it critically for important intellectual content.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Animal and Human Rights Statement
The study was approved by the Ethic Committee of the National Authority. All participants provided written informed consent. Written consents were obtained from all children’s parents involved in the study.
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