Hepatitis C: prevalence and common genotypes among ethnic groups in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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  • 1 Internal Medicine Department, Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The presence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV) was examined using a third-generation ELISA in 3,350 serum samples obtained from patients visiting different outpatient clinics, preoperative patients, and women visiting for ante-natal care at the Dr. Fakeeh hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from January to September 1998. The population included mainly Saudis, Egyptians, and Yemenis, and patients from other Middle East and Asian countries. The prevalence of HCV infection was 5.87% among Saudis, 22.54% among Egyptians, and 2.12% among Yemenis. The prevalence among patients from other Middle East and Asian countries were 3.38% and 4.98%, respectively. The overall prevalence among the studied group was 6.75%. Genotyping of isolates from Saudi Arabia showed that the prevalences of types 4, la, 1b, and 2 were 45.9%, 40.6%, 10.85%, and 2.7%, respectively. Genotyping of isolates from Egypt showed that type 4 was the major type among Egyptians (91.6%), while types 1a and 1b each had prevalences of 4.2%.