Background: Many studies have estimated the prevalence of anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody among hemodialysis (HD) patients; however, the prevalence of HCV core antigen-which indicates the presence of chronic HCV infection-is not known.
Methods: Standardized prevalence ratios (SPRs) for anti-HCV antibody and HCV core antigen among HD patients (n = 1214) were calculated on the basis of data from the general population (n = 22 472) living in the same area.
Results: The prevalences of anti-HCV antibody and HCV core antigen were 12.5% and 7.8%, respectively, in male hemodialysis patients, and 8.5% and 4.1% in female hemodialysis patients. The SPRs (95% confidence interval) for anti-HCV antibody and HCV core antigen were 8.39 (6.72-10.1) and 12.9 (9.66-16.1), respectively, in males, and 5.42 (3.67-7.17) and 8.77 (4.72-12.8) in females.
Conclusions: The prevalences of chronic HCV infection among male and female HD patients were 13-fold and 9-fold, respectively, those of the population-based controls. Further studies should therefore be conducted to determine the extent of chronic HCV infection among HD patients in other populations and to determine whether chronic HCV infection contributes to increased mortality in HD patients.