Prevalence and Risk Factors for Hepatitis C Virus during Pregnancy

Farhana Shaikh, Syed Qaiser Husain Naqvi, Kousar Jilani, Rubina Allah Dino Memon


Background: Hepatitis C virus is one of the major etiological agents for parenterally acquired hepatitis. Viral hepatitis during pregnancy is associated with high risk of maternal complications. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of HCV infection in pregnant women, and to find out its risk factors.

Patients & Methods: It was a prospective observational study conducted at Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Peoples Medical College Nawabshah, from May 2008 to June 2oo9. Pregnant women were screened for HCV antibodies during antenatal visits. Detailed history of HCV positive patients was taken to find out the risk factors.

Results: Among 3020 pregnant women, 102 were positive for HCV antibodies. Of these 73(71.52%) were positive for HCV-RNA by PCR. Among anti-HCV positive women, 8(7.84%) were also positive for HBS Ag. The age range was 17-35. The mean parity of study group was 0.8+0.9. Of 102 women, 10(9.8%) had delivery, 19(18.62%) previous surgery, 20(19.60%) blood transfusions, 10(9.8%) underwent D&C, 5(4.9%) had dental surgery, 6(5.86%) received injection by quack, and 32(31.5%) had unknown risk factor.

Conclusion: Prevalence of Hepatitis C virus infection in pregnant ladies is 3.44%. Past history of blood transfusion, surgery, and delivery by traditional birth attendant are the most important risk factors for transmission of infection.

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