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CORRESPONDENCE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 313-314
 

Prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection among blood donors of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand


Department of Microbiology, Government Medical College, Haldwani, Uttarakhand, India

Date of Submission07-Mar-2013
Date of Acceptance20-Jun-2013
Date of Web Publication25-Jul-2013

Correspondence Address:
V Rawat
Department of Microbiology, Government Medical College, Haldwani, Uttarakhand
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.115669

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How to cite this article:
Rawat V, Bhatt U, Singhai M, Kumar A, Malik Y. Prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection among blood donors of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Indian J Med Microbiol 2013;31:313-4

How to cite this URL:
Rawat V, Bhatt U, Singhai M, Kumar A, Malik Y. Prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection among blood donors of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2013 [cited 2020 Aug 9];31:313-4. Available from: http://www.ijmm.org/text.asp?2013/31/3/313/115669


Dear Editor,

The present study aimed to know the prevalence and yearly trend of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among blood donors of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Blood donation records for over 5 years from blood bank of Base hospital, Haldwani (India) were reviewed retrospectively for seroprevalence and yearly trend of HCV infection.

Total prevalence of HCV infection was 0.64% (190/27,125). Statistically significant higher HCV seroprevalence was found among Sikh (3.25%) population, higher HCV seroprevalence was seen in Udham Singh Nagar District (USN, mainly populated with Sikh Community) whereas, prevalence in Nainital District was only 0.23%. Statistically significant difference was found between the HCV positivity rates of replacement donors (0.74%; 123/16662) versus voluntary donors (0.51%; 67/13053) [Table 1].
Table 1: Sociodemographic profile of blood donors

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Prevalence of HCV infection varies from region to region because of local sociocultural factors, which potentially influence the transmission and prevalence in a specific geographic area. The seroprevalence of HCV in voluntary blood donors in India was found between 0.12% and 4%. [1] In the present study, overall seroprevalence during the 5 years was 0.66%. This variation in seropositivity may be due to the difference in donor base, testing methodology and degree to which risk factors are present, social practices and literacy rate.

In the present study, HCV infection rate of individuals aged 18-30 was 0.72% while the infection rate of individuals aged 31-60 was 0.5% and this difference was statically significant [Table 1]. An increasing trend of HCV infection with age were seen from studies in India and other countries, [2],[3] showing that the infection would have been acquired in the last few years due to the use of unsafe needle and contaminated equipment used in health-care related procedure. However, in our study we found higher HCV prevalence rate of 0.72% in the age group of 18-30 years, possibly implying a higher exposure rate of HCV in younger population group.

We found statistically significantly higher HCV seropositivity among replacement donors, similar to other studies from North India. [4] In the present study, the participation by voluntary donors suddenly increased from 2010 onward [Graph 1] [Additional file 1]. HCV seroprevalence also increased among voluntary donors from the year 2010 onward. During 2008-2009 not a single voluntary donor was found positive for HCV antibody. This increase in HCV seropositivity among voluntary donors may be either due to shifting of infection from high risk population to the general population or sudden increase in number of voluntary donors may not represent the actual true voluntary donors. Many non-government organizations are given the fixed target for blood donation. To fulfil their target these organizations rely on other method for motivating the donors mostly through employer-organized blood collection, but these donors may not have been true volunteers, as they may be persuaded by the employer to some extent. Hence more emphasis should be on quality rather than on the quantity of donated blood.

Seroprevalence rate of 3.25% among Sikh population is a matter of concern, which represents a large overlooked reservoir of infection capable of inflicting a significant disease burden on the society and the need for more stringent screening among blood donors. It also requires more elaborative investigations to know the actual sociocultural practices responsible for this high HCV seroprevalence among them for public health planning for preventing the HCV infection.

 
 ~ References Top

1.Panigrahi AK, Panda SK, Dixit RK, Rao KV, Acharya SK, Dasarathy S, et al. Magnitude of hepatitis C virus infection in India: Prevalence in healthy blood donors, acute and chronic liver diseases. J Med Virol 1997;51:167-74.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Memon MI, Memon MA. Hepatitis C: An epidemiological review. J Viral Hepat 2002;9:84-100.  Back to cited text no. 2
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3.Thakral B, Marwaha N, Chawla YK, Saluja K, Sharma A, Sharma RR, et al. Prevalence and significance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) seropositivity in blood donors. Indian J Med Res 2006;124:431-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
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4.Jain A, Rana SS, Chakravarty P, Gupta RK, Murthy NS, Nath MC, et al. The prevalence of hepatitis C virus antibodies among the voluntary blood donors of New Delhi, India. Eur J Epidemiol 2003;18:695-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
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