Volume 66, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


This investigation's objective was to identify risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) in a village in Upper Egypt with a moderately high prevalence (8.7%) of antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV). A representative sample of 6,012 (63%) of the 9,581 village inhabitants was included in the study. A questionnaire solicited information regarding risk factors for infection, and blood samples were tested for anti-HCV. Parenteral risks identified in age-adjusted analysis included blood transfusions, dental procedures, hospital admission, surgery, complicated deliveries, history of injection therapy for schistosomiasis, and history of frequent injections. Circumcision was pervasive and was not associated per se with ant-HCV; however, circumcision by an informal, rather than formal, health care provider was associated with anti-HCV among young men and boys. The results did not reveal any unique community-acquired exposures that caused HCV infections: inhabitants who had tattoos, who smoked goza, who were shaved by a community barber, or who had their ears pierced were not at greater risk for anti-HCV than those who did not. Risks identified in multivariate analysis for both those older and younger than 30 years included prior parenteral therapy for schistosomiasis and blood transfusion; for those 30 or younger, circumcision by an informal rather than formal health care provider, and frequent injections; and for those older than 30, never attending college, invasive medical procedures, and complicated deliveries. Selecting for those with blood transfusion, prior parenteral therapy for schistosomiasis, and invasive medical procedures would identify less than half of those infected. Inclusion of frequent injections would identify 80% of those infected with HCV, but as a result of the pervasive use of injections, it would not discriminate from those uninfected. Nonetheless, general reduction of these exposures and assuring sterile practices are logical goals for intervention.


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