The prevalence of hepatitis C in patients admitted with acute hepatitis to Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, 1971-1975

J A Thomson, A J Rodger, S C Thompson, D Jolley, A Byrne, S J Best, N Crofts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To identify and determine trends in the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody in stored sera from 1971 to 1975 and to determine associations with HCV seropositivity, including markers for other hepatitis infections and possible routes of transmission.

DESIGN: A retrospective cross-sectional study.

PATIENTS AND SETTING: 1511 adults admitted to Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, Victoria, with a clinical and biochemical diagnosis of hepatitis between 1 January 1971 and 31 December 1975.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence over study period of hepatitis A virus antibody (anti-HAV) IgM, hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc), hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis C virus antibody (anti-HCV) in stored sera; sociodemographic data and risk factors for blood-borne viruses documented in original medical records.

RESULTS: Anti-HCV was detected in 17% of adults admitted with hepatitis from 1971 through 1975. Prevalence increased significantly over this period. Most cases were in young men who had a history of injecting drug use. HCV seropositivity was also significantly associated with markers for hepatitis B infection.

CONCLUSIONS: Given the 20-30-year period between infection with hepatitis and the development of liver disease, our findings predict significant liver-related morbidity in Australia in the next decade. The increase in prevalence over the five years studied suggests rapid spread of HCV through susceptible populations, principally injecting drug users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-363
Number of pages4
JournalThe Medical journal of Australia
Volume169
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 1998

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