Journal Article

Brief report. Prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and its vertical transmission in Egyptian pregnant women and their newborns

AS Kassem, AA El-Nawawy, MN Massoud, SY Abou El-Nazar and EM Sobhi

in Journal of Tropical Pediatrics

Volume 46, issue 4, pages 231-233
Published in print August 2000 | ISSN: 0142-6338
Published online August 2000 | e-ISSN: 1465-3664 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/tropej/46.4.231
Brief report. Prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and its vertical transmission in Egyptian pregnant women and their newborns

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We studied the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody seropositivity using ELISA (Ortho Diagnostic system, 3rd generation test) polymerase chain reaction testing of HCV-RNA (PCR, Promega) and serum alanine transferase (ALT) level in 100 healthy, HIV-negative, pregnant women who delivered spontaneously at the Alexandria University Hospital, and their newborns. Some risk factors were studied using Fisher's exact test. Nineteen per cent of pregnant women were HCV seropositive and 14 of them (14/19) had circulating HCV-RNA, detected by PCR. Nine of the babies born to the 19 HCV seropositive females had circulating antibodies, whereas HCV-RNA was detected in five of them. This gives a vertical transmission risk of 5/14 (36 per cent) for mothers carrying the HCV-RNA and 5/19 (26 per cent) for those having circulating HCV antibodies. History of previous blood transfusion, elevated serum ALT level, and history of infection with schistosomiasis were significant risk factors for HCV infection in mothers. In addition to the previous factors, maternal history of jaundice, stillbirth and hepatomegaly were significant risk factors for neonatal infection. The occurrence of early jaundice and the presence of congenital anomalies in the newborns were non-significant risk factors. In conclusion, our data indicate a high prevalence of HCV seropositivity in Egyptian HIV-negative pregnant women with a significant high rate of vertical transmission of HCV.

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Subjects: Paediatrics

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