Low Prevalence of Anti-Hepatitis C Virus Antibodies in Female Hemodialysis Patients Without Blood

Low Prevalence of Anti-Hepatitis C Virus Antibodies in Female Hemodialysis Patients Without Blood

Low Prevalence of Anti-Hepatitis C Virus Antibodies in Female Hemodialysis Patients Without Blood

Abstract

To investigate whether nosocomial infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) in chronic hemodialysis patients is related primarily to hemodialysisprocedures, a multicenter analysis was carried out on 2,132 chronic hemodialysis patients (male: 1,274, female: 858) from 23 dialysis units using a second-generation anti-HCV antibody assay. The prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies in patients with blood transfusion (29.9%) was significantly higher (P < .0001) than in those without blood transfusion (7.6%). Although the prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies increased with the length of hemodialysisin males without blood transfusion, it did not increase even after long-term hemodialysis (more than 5 years) in females without blood transfusion, who exhibited a rate (1.9%) similar to that of healthy blood donors in Japan. There was a significant correlation between the presence of anti-HCV antibodies and anti-HBs antibody in males without blood transfusion. In anti-HBs antibody-negative male patients without blood transfusion, theprevalence of anti-HCV antibodies was significantly lower compared with anti-HBs antibody-positive male patients without blood transfusion. There was marked difference in the prevalence rate in patients without blood transfusion among dialysis units, and there was no correlation between theprevalence and the mean period of dialysis of each dialysis unit. Although nosocomial infection with HCV appears to be related to the hemodialysisenvironment, the low prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies in females suggests that dialysis procedures per se may not present the risk of hepatitis C virus infection.

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