Volume 60, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) has become the most important public health problem in Egypt. In Egypt, viral hepatitis along with infection with Schistosoma mansoni is the major cause of chronic liver disease and liver cirrhosis. Although HCV infection is highly prevalent in Egypt, very little information is available on the distribution of the different genotypes of HCV. Our aims in this study were first to determine the prevalence of viral and parasite infections in patients with chronic liver disease and then to assess the distribution of HCV genotypes in these patients. In the present study, 151 individuals (50 with chronic liver disease, 51 with chronic diseases of organs other than the liver, and 50 apparently healthy persons) were investigated. The last 2 groups served as control groups. These individuals were subjected to routine liver function tests and detection of serum antibodies to bilharziasis, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), and HCV. Furthermore, the presence of hepatitis G virus (HGV) and HCV in the serum samples were tested for by a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Prevalence of different genotypes of HCV in patients positive for HCV were determined by RT-PCR using type-specific primers. Results of the study revealed that 84, 74, 12, and 20% of patients with chronic liver disease were positive for Schistosoma mansoni, HCV, HBsAg, and HGV, respectively, as compared to 51, 43.1, 2, and 4% of patients with other chronic diseases and 22, 6, 0, and 0% of apparently healthy individuals. One hundred percent of patients with chronic liver disease, 72.5% of those with other diseases, and 26% of normal controls were shown to have at least one of the studied infectious agents. Two or more of the agents were highly coincident in patients with chronic liver disease. In Egypt, HCV genotype 4a is highly prevalent, where it contributed 85% of the tested samples in comparison to 10, 2.5, and 2.5% for subtypes 1b, 2a, and 3a, respectively. In conclusion, these results suggest that in Egypt, HCV along with schistosomal parasite infection is the major risk factor for chronic liver disease. In most Egyptian patients, HCV genotype 4 is highly prevalent.


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