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ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been identified as the major cause of chronic liver disease among patients on chronic hemodialysis (HD), despite the important reduction in risks obtained by testing candidate blood donors for anti-HCV antibodies and the use of recombinant erythropoietin to treat anemia. A cross-sectional study was performed to estimate the prevalence of HCV infection and genotypes among HD patients in Salvador, Northeastern Brazil. Anti-HCV seroprevalence was determined by ELISA in 1243 HD patients from all ten different dialysis centers of the city. HCV infection was confirmed by RT-PCR and genotyping was performed by restriction fragment length polymorphism. Anti-HCV seroprevalence among HD patients was 10.5% (95% CI: 8.8-12.3) (Murex anti-HCV, Abbott Murex, Chicago, IL, USA). Blood samples for qualitative HCV detection and genotyping were collected from 125/130 seropositive HD patients (96.2%). HCV-RNA was detected in 92/125 (73.6%) of the anti-HCV-positive patients. HCV genotype 1 (77.9%) was the most prevalent, followed by genotype 3 (10.5%) and genotype 2 (4.6%). Mixed infections of genotypes 1 and 3 were found in 7.0% of the total number of patients. The present results indicate a significant decrease in anti-HCV prevalence from 23.8% detected in a study carried out in 1994 to 10.5% in the present study. The HCV genotype distribution was closely similar to that observed in other hemodialysis populations in Brazil, in local candidate blood donors and in other groups at risk of transfusion-transmitted infection.
Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 06/2006; 39(5):595-602. · 1.14 Impact Factor