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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 20-25

Seroprevalence of hepatitis C virus antibody and its associated risk factors in children with sickle cell anaemia

Department of Paediatrics, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Baba Jibrin
Department of Paediatrics, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an important hepatotrophic virus known to be transmitted percutaneouly through contaminated sharp objects, blood and blood products. Blood transfusion is a major risk factor for the acquisition of HCV in sub-Saharan Africa and it is attributable to the absence of consistent screening of blood donors. Children and adults are all at risk of being infected especially those with sickle cell disease. Objective: To determine the seroprevalence of hepatitis C viral antibodies among transfused sickle cell anemia (SCA) children. Materials and Methods: Three hundred (300) SCA children aged 6 months-15 years attending the SCA clinic and on admission in emergency pediatric unit (EPU) and pediatric medical ward (PMW), (both in steady state and in crises) of Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, were screened for hepatitis C infection using anti-HCV as marker of infection and the sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method was used for detection of the marker. Three hundred (300) children with minor illness attending pediatric outpatient department and on admission in for various treatment of the same hospital served as gender- and age-marched controls. Results: The result showed that the prevalence of anti-HCV seropositivity for HCV infection among SCA children was 12.7% (38/300) compared with 10.3% (31/300) of the control (P = 0.958). The prevalence of HCV infection increases significantly with increase in frequencies of blood transfusions both in SCA children (P = 0.0001) and the controls (P = 0.0001). Other risk factors for HCV infection such as traditional scarification (SCA 4 out 12, controls 4 out 16) and injections (SCA 38 out of 168, controls 27 out 172) significantly affect the prevalence of HCV infection in both SCA children and controls, (P = 0.0001). Conclusion: The prevalence of HCV infection in both SCA children and controls is high and the higher the frequency of blood transfusions the greater the rate of HCV infections.

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