Risk factors for hepatitis C virus infection. A case-control study of blood donors in the Trent Region (UK)

Epidemiol Infect. 1994 Jun;112(3):595-601. doi: 10.1017/s0950268800051293.


The introduction of screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) by the National Blood Transfusion Service identified donors who had acquired HCV infection. We undertook a case-control study amongst blood donors in the Trent Region to determine risks for HCV infection. A total of 74 blood donors confirmed positive for hepatitis C infection and 150 age, sex and donor venue matched controls were included in the study. Fifty-three percent of hepatitis C infected blood donors reported previous use of injected drugs compared to no controls; relative risk (RR) not estimatable (lower limit 95% CI = 20). Other risk factors were a history of: receipt of a blood transfusion or blood products RR = 3.6 (95% CI 1.5-8.3), having been a 'health care worker' RR = 2.8 (95% CI 1.1-7.6), tattooing RR = 3.3 (95% CI 1.2-8.7), and an association with having been born abroad RR = 3.2 (95% CI 1.1-9.5). No risk was shown for a history of multiple sexual partners, ear piercing or acupuncture. Injecting drug use explains more than 50% of hepatitis C infections in blood donors, a group who are less likely to have injected drugs than the general population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Donors*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis C / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Partners
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications*
  • Transfusion Reaction
  • Travel
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology