A new study by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar
(WCMC-Q) shows that there is a large geographic variation in the
distribution of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Egypt.
Egypt has the highest infection level of the disease in the world,
with 14.7% of the population carrying HCV, but it is still not clear why
this is so.
Treatment campaigns for bilharzia – a disease caused by parasitic
worms – during the 1960s and 1970s, using parenteral antischistosomal
therapy (PAT), contributed to the epidemic through wide-scale sharing of
needles and syringes. However, these campaigns can explain only about
10% of HCV infections in the country. It is probable that most HCV
infections in Egypt are linked to exposures in medical care settings.
—Alan Franciscus, Editor-in-Chief
A study was recently released that reviewed data from the National
Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 2003 to 2010 to
understand the percentage of people with hepatitis C (HCV) aged 40 yo
or older who were initially infected (HCV antibody positive) and who
subsequently became HCV undetectable (resolved) compared to those who
continued to test for HCV RNA (chronic). It was found that 75.3% of
the people who tested HCV antibody positive did not resolve the initial
An important finding of the study was that 91.1% of non-Hispanic Blacks did not resolve acute infection compared to non-Hispanic Whites.
One of the most alarming findings of this study
was that in people who had abnormal liver enzymes—alanine
aminotransferase—ALT (56.5 %) and aspartate aminotransferase—AST
(71.8 %)—only 35.3% had been diagnosed. As usual, more education is
needed among medical providers and patients.
Racial Disparities in the Proportion of Current, Unresolved Hepatitis C Virus Infections in the United States, 2003-2010.
Liu G1, Holmberg SD, Kamili S, Xu F.
Dig Dis Sci. 2014 Feb 27. [Epub ahead of print]
—Alan Franciscus, Editor-in-Chief
The National Health and Nutrition Examination
Survey (NHANES) estimates that 1.3% of the U.S. Hispanic population is
infected with hepatitis C (HCV). This is somewhat misleading because
the U.S. Hispanic population (like any population) is a diverse group
with many backgrounds. A new study conducted by Albert Einstein
College of Medicine of Yeshiva University was released that,
thankfully, is providing a more detailed picture about HCV prevalence in
Hispanics based on the background of origin. The study gathered
information from the NHANES survey and Hispanic Community Health
Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL).
Seong MH, Kil H, Kim YS, Bae SH, Lee YJ, Lee HC, Kang BH, Jeong SH.
Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Republic of Korea.
The epidemiological and clinical features of hepatitis C virus (HCV)
infection in South Korea were examined in a prospective, multicenter
cohort study that included 1,173 adult patients with positive results
for anti-HCV antibody who completed a questionnaire survey on the risk
factors for HCV infection from January 2007 to December 2011 at five
The HCV cohort had a mean age of 55.4 years with
48.3% men, and diagnostic categories of acute hepatitis (n = 63, 5.3%),
past infection (n = 37, 3.2%), chronic hepatitis (n = 777, 66.2%),
cirrhosis of the liver (n = 179, 15.3%), and hepatocellular carcinoma
(n = 117, 10.0%). The major HCV genotypes were genotype 1 (52.7%) and
genotype 2 (45.3%). Liver biopsy was performed in 301 patients (25.7%),
and 42.8% of the subjects received antiviral therapy against HCV. The
behavioral risk factors possibly related to HCV infection were
intravenous drug use (5%), needle stick injury (7%), blood transfusion
before 1995 (19%), sexual relationship with more than three partners
(28%), piercings (35%), tattoos (36%), surgery (43%), acupuncture (83%),
diagnostic endoscopy (85%), and dental procedures (93%).
intravenous drug use, needle stick injury, transfusion before 1995, and
tattoos were the independent risk factors of HCV infection. J Med.
Virol. 85:1724-1733, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.