original article

Vol. 11 No. 1

THE PREVALENCE OF HEPATITIS C VIRAL RNA AMONG WOMEN UNDERGOING ANTENATAL CARE IN PORT HARCOURT, NIGERIA

June 2019

— Omunakwe HE, Dan-Jumbo AI, Abere ST, Kalio GBD and Oyan B

Abstract

Background: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is a blood borne flavivirus, that has a predilection for hepatocytes but it is not directly cytopathic. There is a risk of infected mothers passing the virus to their babies in the perinatal period – vertical transmission is becoming a leading source of the infection.

Aim: This study aimed at determining the prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic in our center. We also sought to assess the risk factors for HCV and knowledge of hepatitis C infection in the same study population. Finally, we set to determine if there is a need for routine screening of all pregnant women receiving antenatal services at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital Port Harcourt

Methods: We had Ethical Approval to enrol consenting women initiating ANC in our centre using a pretested questionnaire after which their blood sample was collected for HCV screening by immunochromatographic methods using Diaspot® One Step Hepatitis test kits. Every positive patient was recalled during their next antenatal visit and samples were collected for HCV viral load by Polymerase Chain Reaction Technique and then followed up to delivery.

Results: 488 women were enrolled in 4 months, mean age was 32.11 + 4.89 years, one (1) subject had antibodies to HCV and Viral Load of 33,108 cell/ul, thus the prevalence of HCV in our study was 0.21%. The only risk factor in this subject was blood transfusion.

Conclusion: The findings of our study shows that the prevalence of HCV antibody in women accessing Antenatal care in our facility is very low, the commonest risk factors identified in our study were sharing sharps and surgery There is a great need for increased public health education on the dangers of sharing sharp objects and the need to uphold standard precautions in health services.

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The Nigerian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, is a bi-annual publication of the Society for Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria (SOGHIN), which publishes original research on the biology and diseases of the Gut, Liver, Pancreas, Peritoneum and Spleen both in humans and experimental animal models.

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