Volume 62, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Sera from 516 participants enrolled in a population-based cross-sectional study in northwest Tanzania were tested for antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV). The mean age of study subjects was 29 years (range = 16-49 years); 43% were men, 6% reported a history of blood transfusion, and 4% were infected with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1). Although 53 of 516 sera (10.3%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.8-13.2%) were repeatedly reactive by a third-generation enzyme immunoassay (EIA-3), only 6 of the 53 were positive when tested with a third-generation recombinant immunoblot assay (confirmed HCV seroprevalence = 1.2%, 95% CI = 0.4-2.5%). The positive predictive value of the HCV EIA-3 in this population was 18.8% (95% CI = 7.0-36.4%). False positivity was not correlated with EIA-3 optical density values, age, sex, infection with HIV-1, or a history of blood transfusion, but it was marginally associated with increased serum IgG levels. We conclude that the prevalence of HCV is low in this region and that the HCV EIA-3 has a higher false-positivity rate in this population than has been reported among U.S. blood donors.


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