The effectiveness of outreach testing for hepatitis C in an immigrant Pakistani population

Epidemiol Infect. 2012 Jun;140(6):1048-53. doi: 10.1017/S095026881100152X. Epub 2011 Aug 19.


In Scotland, an estimated 1% of the population is infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). There is ethnic diversity in Scotland, with a large Pakistani sub-population. Our aim was to investigate the prevalence of HCV in an immigrant Pakistani population and effectiveness of an outreach testing intervention. We arranged a series of HCV awareness meetings at the mosques and Pakistani Women's centre in the city of Dundee. Thereafter short-term outreach HCV testing clinics were set up in the same venues. Venous blood samples were obtained and tested for HCV IgG and HbsAg. A short questionnaire was also completed. In total, 177 individuals volunteered for testing, out of an estimated 250 who attended meetings and a total Pakistani population in Dundee of 1723. Of those tested 170 were Scottish Pakistanis (159 first generation, 11 second generation). There were 145 (85.2%) men. The mean age was 45.11 (± S.D. 16.7) years. Seven (4.1%) individuals in the cohort were anti-HCV positive. Five (2.9%) were found to have HCV RNA by PCR. Only one patient had chronic hepatitis B infection. All patients with positive results were seen in the liver clinic for consideration of treatment. We have demonstrated that immigrant Pakistanis retain a higher prevalence of HCV compared to the population of their adopted country. Outreach targeted testing in this group can be achieved using religious and cultural gatherings, with only modest investment in staff time.

MeSH terms

  • Community-Institutional Relations*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C / diagnosis*
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Scotland / epidemiology


  • Hepatitis C Antibodies