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Risk factors for hepatitis C virus acquisition and predictors of persistence among Egyptian children.
Gamal Esmat; Mohamed Hashem; Mona El-Raziky; Wafaa El-Akel; Suzan El-Naghy; Nehal El-Koofy; Rokaya El-Sayed; Rasha Ahmed; Mohamed Atta-Allah; Mohamed Abdel Hamid; et al. (Profiled Author: Samer S El-Kamary)
Department of Tropical Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.
Liver international : official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver 2012;32(3):449-56.
BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has a lower prevalence in children and knowledge is limited regarding the natural outcome of HCV infection in children. AIM: To study the risk factors of HCV acquisition and predictors of persistence in Egyptian children. METHODS: Children, 1-9 years of age, were evaluated for acquisition of HCV (anti-HCV positive regardless of viraemia) and persistence of HCV (anti-HCV and HCV-RNA positive) at two paediatric hepatology clinics in Cairo at enrollment and at 3 monthly intervals. Spontaneous clearance of HCV was defined as ≥ two positive anti-HCV antibody tests with negative HCV-RNA at least 6 months apart. RESULTS: Over a 33-month-period a total of 226 children <9 years of age were screened for HCV antibodies. Of those, 146 (65%) were anti-HCV positive of which 87 (60%) were HCV-RNA positive. The HCV acquisition was more likely to occur in older children (P = 0.003) with comorbid conditions (P < 0.01) compared to anti-HCV negative children. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, the highest risk factors for HCV acquisition were surgical interventions [odds ratio (OR): 4.7] and blood transfusions (OR: 2.3). The highest risk factor for HCV persistence was dental treatment (OR: 16.9) and male gender (OR: 7.5). HCV persistence was also strongly associated with elevated baseline alanine aminotransaminase (ALT) levels (OR: 4.9) and fluctuating aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels (OR: 8.1). CONCLUSION: Although surgical interventions and blood transfusion are significant risk factors for HCV acquisition in Egyptian children, dental treatment remains the highest risk factor for HCV chronic persistence in children.
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