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High HCV infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa, with particularly high prevalence in patients with HIV

Africa designHigh HCV infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa, with particularly high prevalence in patients with HIV

The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is high in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a report in journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. UNITED KINGDOM. The researchers performed a meta-analysis of studies involving about 213 1,2 million patients 33 countries. The overall prevalence of HCV was 3%, but differed between regions and groups at risk. About 6% of HIV-positive patients coinfected with HCV.

"We have recorded a high serum prevalence of the hepatitis C virus among populations in sub-Saharan Africa, including in HIV-positive adult patients," comment the authors. "We have identified a regional variation".

Overall to 150 million individuals are infected with HCV. Infection therefore represents a major challenge to global health, especially for the poorest countries. OS data on the epidemiology of hepatitis C virus in sub-Saharan Africa are still subinformados. In a review published in 2002 found a prevalence of 3%, but with significant regional variations. Few studies have examined coinfection rates HIV / HCV, but there is some evidence that HIV is associated with a higher risk of HCV infection.

The researchers wanted to update knowledge of the HCV epidemic in the region. Thus, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published between 2002 and 2014 who reported on the prevalence of HCV in sub-Saharan Africa and the high rates of co-infection HIV / HCV.

The studies were divided according to the question of whether the population was considered low risk for HCV (the participants; blood donors, patients recruited from the general population), or high risk (patients with liver disease; patients who had received blood products or undergone surgery and injecting drug users). Patients with HIV infection were considered separately.

A total of 287 employees were included in the analysis, and the HCV prevalence rate was around 3%. However, this index varied from region to region, ranging from 7% in central Africa to 4% in West Africa and 1% in Southeast Africa.

Low global prevalence of risk groups was assessed at 2,65%. But again there were some regional variations with the highest infection rates in central Africa and the lowest in south-east Africa.

Just over 3% of the participants in antenatal clinic were HCV positive, an infection rate similar to that observed in all the low-risk population. The researchers therefore suggest that patients in prenatal would be a good population to follow the trends of HCV in the general population.

About 12% of high-risk individuals were infected with HCV. Prevalence ranged between 46% in a cohort of injecting drug users in Kenya to 10% among patients with liver disease.

About 6% of patients with HIV were co-infected with HCV, with rates ranging from about 7% in West Africa to 4,5% in south-eastern Africa.

"There is a clear unmet need for HCV prevention and treatment, access to treatment needs to be improved for both groups, both monoinfected and co-infected," conclude the authors.


Rao VBR et al. Hepatitis C seroprevalence, co-infection with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis.The Lancet infect Dis, online: (2015).

Michael Carter

Published on: 10 June 2015

Translated by Claudio de Souza Santos the original High HCV infection rate in sub-Saharan Africa, with high prevalence Especially in patients with HIV on Sunday, 14 June 2015.

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