Frequency and risk factors for Hepatitis C among pregnant women

Tehniyat Ishaq, Mohammad Ishaq Khattak, Said Amin, Najib ul Haq


Background: Hepatitis C virus is a major burden on public health worldwide. This study was conducted to evaluate the frequency and various risk factors for hepatitis C virus among pregnant women in our set-up.

Material & Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on pregnant women in Gynaecology & Obstetrics Department, Kuwait Teaching Hospital, Peshawar, from January 2007 to January 2009. After detailed history and examination, 5 ml blood was taken. Rapid Immuno-chromatographic Technique for qualitative detection of antibodies for hepatitis C was the screening technique used. Those found positive were confirmed by ELISA. The women were also evaluated for the presence of risk factors for Hepatitis C virus infection. Pre-structured proforma was used to collect and record data. Results were analyzed on SPSS version 16.

Results: During the study period 2050 pregnant women were tested for anti-HCV. Out of these, 103(5%) were found positive for anti-HCV. Regarding risk factors; history of previous delivery, abortions, injections, blood transfusion, surgery, dental extraction and tattooing were associated with HCV positive status. Sixty four (62%) anti-HCV positive women did not have any identifiable risk factor.

Conclusion: Hepatitis C is a common infection in pregnant women. Risk factors include use of contaminated syringes, contaminated surgical instruments and blood products.

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