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Open Access Research

Prevalence of active hepatitis C virus infections among general public of Lahore, Pakistan

Muhammad Ikram Anwar1, Moazur Rahman1, Mahmood Ul Hassan2 and Mazhar Iqbal1*

Author Affiliations

1 Health Biotechnology Division, National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Jhang Road, P. O. BOX 577, Faisalabad 38000, Pakistan

2 Department of Statistics, Stockholm University, Stockholm, SE 106 91, Sweden

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Virology Journal 2013, 10:351  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-10-351

Published: 5 December 2013

Abstract

Background

To find out the prevalence of active hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among general public in Lahore city, since data concerning the prevalence of active HCV in this city is currently unavailable.

Methods

Blood samples were collected randomly from individuals visiting different clinical laboratories in Lahore. Serum was separated and processed by nested PCR qualitative assay for the detection of HCV RNA. The samples were categorized into different age groups on the basis of pre-test questionnaires in order to record the age-wise differences regarding the prevalence of active HCV. Data were analyzed statistically using Chi-Square test.

Results

Out of the 4246 blood samples analyzed in this study, 210 were confirmed to be positive for active HCV infection. Gender-wise active HCV prevalence revealed no significant difference [OR = 1.10 CI = (0.83-1.46), p > 0.05]. However, among the age groups the highest prevalence was observed in the age groups 20–29 (7.7%) and 30–39 years (6.4%) with odds of prevalence of 14.8% (OR = 2.48, CI = (1.40-4.38), p < 0.05) and 10.3% (OR = 2.03, CI = (1.10-3.71), respectively. In age groups above 40 years (40–49, 50–59 and >59 years), a decrease in levels of active HCV prevalence was observed.

Conclusions

Among tested samples, 4.9% of the subjects were confirmed to harbour active HCV infections and the “middle aged” population in Lahore was found to be at a higher risk of the HCV ailments compared to both their younger and older peers.

Keywords:
Active HCV prevalence; Lahore; Pakistan; Nested PCR