BioScience Trends. 2015;9(2):97-103. (DOI: 10.5582/ bst.2015.01033)

Hepatitis C virus infection in the general population: A large community-based study in Mianyang, West China.

Zhou M, Li H, Ji YL, Ma YJ, Hou FS, Yuan P


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection remains a major public health problem. The objective of the current study was to reveal the seroepidemiology of HCV in the general population in Mianyang City. This study collected 438,575 blood samples from participants who had enrolled in the National Science and Technology Development Project and their demographic information, and then evaluated HCV antibody and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels. The overall anti-HCV positive rate was 0.80% (3,491/438,575) in the Mianyang general population, and it was 1.19% in rural population and 0.20% in urban. Anti-HCV positive rate increased with age, peaked at 45-54 years (2.01%), and then decreased. Anti-HCV prevalence was higher in males (0.89%) than that in females (0.73%). The prevalence of anti-HCV in participants with a history of blood transfusion, surgery, or with a previous diagnosis of hypertension was higher. The abnormal ALT levels (> 40 IU/L) were observed in 50.11% and 7.74% of anti-HCV positive and negative groups, respectively. In anti-HCV positive groups, the rate of abnormal ALT levels was higher in 55-64 age groups, male, and rural population. Though Mianyang was a low endemic area for HCV infection, the alarming fact was the large number of abnormal ALT levels in patients related to hepatitis C. This revealed delayed diagnosis and treatment of HCV infections. It is a necessity to promote early diagnosis and timely treatment of HCV infections.

KEYWORDS: Seroepidemiology, hepatitis C virus antibody, alanine aminotransferase, general population, China

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