Hepatitis C virus antibodies in high-risk Saudi groups

H Bahakim, T M Bakir, M Arif, S Ramia
Vox Sanguinis 1991, 60 (3): 162-4
The recombinant-based enzyme immunoassay developed by Ortho Diagnostic System for the detection of antibodies of hepatis C virus (HCV) was used to determine the extent of exposure to HCV in healthy Saudi subjects (500 males; 260 females) without liver disease and with no history of percutaneous exposure to blood and in Saudis who are considered at high risk for contracting the disease: hemophiliacs (28), thalassemics (78), hemodialysis patients with renal failure (65) and patients with sexually transmitted diseases (STD) (220). The results show that HCV is endemic in the Saudi population with an overall frequency of 5.3% in healthy Saudi adults which is at least 5 times higher than what has been reported from Western Europe and the United States. Seropositivity rate in the high-risk groups ranges from 15.9% in patients with STD to 78.6% in hemophiliacs. These data underscore the urgent need for routine anti-HCV screening of blood donations in order to reduce the frequency of postransfusion non-A, non-B hepatitis and its sequelae in the Saudi population.


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