Prevalence of active hepatitis C viremia and HCV genotypes in different regions of Sindh, Pakistan
Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is highly endemic in Pakistan with about 6% active HCV infection frequency. Sindh, the second largest populated province of Pakistan, is recognized with alarmingly high HCV seroprevalence in community. The present study estimates the frequency of active HCV infection with its genotypes and analyzes the associated determinants among the population in Sindh. Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study carried out in Asian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) Hyderabad and University of Sindh, Jamshoro, Pakistan from Sep 2017 to Sep 2018. A total of 5,253 samples were confirmed anti‑HCV antibody positive using third generation Elecsys Anti‑HCV II assay. The samples were further processed for the Nucleic acid Amplification Test (NAT) and genotyping using Cobas® 4800 System. Results: HCV-RNA positivity was confirmed in 2,096 (39.9%) cases with statistically significant impact of gender on HCV-RNA positivity [OR=1.21, CI=1.08–1.35, p<0.05]. Pearson’s correlation co-efficient between age and active HCV viremia suggested a weak negative correlation in general (r= -0.290) and male (r= -0.459) category but not female (r=0.255). Genotype 3 was found the most common (81.6%) followed by genotype 1b (3.7%) and genotype 2 (0.9%). Bivariate correlation analysis suggested a non-significant, but weak positive correlation between age and genotypes (r=0.261). Conclusion: Prevalence of HCV infection is about 40% with the predominant genotype 3 among HCV patients in Sindh Province, Pakistan.
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