High prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies in two metropolitan emergency departments in Germany: a prospective screening analysis of 28,809 patients

Background and Aims: The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies in Germany has been estimated to be in the range of 0.4–0.63%. Screening for HCV is recommended in patients with elevated ALT levels or significan
Background and Aims: The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies in Germany has been estimated to be in the range of 0.4–0.63%. Screening for HCV is recommended in patients with elevated ALT levels or significant risk factors for HCV transmission only. However, 15–30% of patients report no risk factors and ALT levels can be normal in up to 20–30% of patients with chronic HCV infection. The aim of this study was to assess the HCV seroprevalence in patients visiting two tertiary care emergency departments in Berlin and Frankfurt, respectively.

Methods: Between May 2008 and March 2010, a total of 28,809 consecutive patients were screened for the presence of anti-HCV antibodies. Anti-HCV positive sera were subsequently tested for HCV-RNA.

Results: The overall HCV seroprevalence was 2.6% (95% CI: 2.4–2.8; 2.4% in Berlin and 3.5% in Frankfurt). HCV-RNA was detectable in 68% of anti-HCV positive cases. Thus, the prevalence of chronic HCV infection in the overall study population was 1.6% (95% CI 1.5–1.8). The most commonly reported risk factor was former/current injection drug use (IDU; 31.2%) and those with IDU as the main risk factor were significantly younger than patients without IDU (p<0.001) and the male-to-female ratio was 72% (121 vs. 46 patients; p<0.001). Finally, 18.8% of contacted HCV-RNA positive patients had not been diagnosed previously.

Conclusions: The HCV seroprevalence was more than four times higher compared to current estimates and almost one fifth of contacted HCV-RNA positive patients had not been diagnosed previously.
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Metadaten
Author:Johannes Vermehren, Beate Schlosser, Diana Domke, Sandra Elanjimattom, Christian Müller, Gudrun Hintereder, Karin Hensel-Wiegel, Rudolf Tauber, Annemarie Berger, Norbert Haas, Felix Walcher, Martin Möckel, Ralf Lehmann, Stefan Zeuzem, Christoph Sarrazin, Thomas Berg
URN:urn:nbn:de:hebis:30:3-257451
DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0041206
ISSN:1932-6203
Pubmed Id:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=22848445
Parent Title (English):Plos one
Publisher:PLoS
Place of publication:Lawrence, Kan.
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Date of Publication (online):2012/07/25
Date of first Publication:2012/07/25
Publishing Institution:Univ.-Bibliothek Frankfurt am Main
Release Date:2012/08/14
Volume:7
Issue:7: e41206
Pagenumber:7
First Page:1
Last Page:7
Note:
Copyright: © 2012 Vermehren et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Institutes:Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Sammlungen:Universitätspublikationen
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0

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