Epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection in highly endemic HBV areas in China

PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54815. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054815. Epub 2013 Jan 25.

Abstract

Background: Wuwei City has the highest prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in China. From 2007 to 2011, the average reported incidence rate of hepatitis B was 634.56/100,000 people. However, studies assessing the epidemic features and risk factors of HCV in the general population of Wuwei City are limited.

Methods: A total of 7189 people were interviewed and screened for HCV antibodies. HCV RNA and HCV genotypes were analyzed by PCR. Relevant information was obtained from the general population using a standardized questionnaire, and association and logistic regression analyses were conducted.

Results: The anti-HCV prevalence was 1.64% (118/7189), and HCV-RNA was detected in 37.29% (44/118) of the anti-HCV positive samples. The current HCV infection rate was 0.61% (44/7189) in the Wuwei general population. Hepatitis C infection rate was generally higher in the plains regions (χ(2) = 27.54,P<0.05), and the most predominant HCV genotypes were 2a (59.1%) and 1b (34.1%). The concurrent HCV and HBV infection rate was 1.37%, and a history of blood transfusion (OR = 17.9, 95% CI: 6.1 to 52.6, p<0.001) was an independent risk factor for HCV positivity.

Conclusions: Although Wuwei is a highly endemic area for HBV, the anti-HCV positive rate in the general population is low. More than one-third of HCV-infected people were unaware of their infection; this may become an important risk factor for hepatitis C prevalence in the general population. Maintaining blood safety is important in order to help reduce the burden of HCV infection in developing regions of China.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • China / epidemiology
  • Coinfection / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Hepacivirus* / genetics
  • Hepacivirus* / immunology
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis C / immunology
  • Hepatitis C / virology
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phylogeny
  • Prevalence
  • RNA, Viral
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Hepatitis C Antibodies
  • RNA, Viral

Grant support

This study was supported by the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (PCSIRT) and the China Special Grant for the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (2012ZX10004907): Infectious disease prevention and control in demonstration areas and the field epidemiological study of viral hepatitis B in Wuwei. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.