Egypt hepC infection control
Egypt has the highest prevalence of hepatitis C infection in the world. Approximately 15% of the population is estimated to have hepatitis C virus (HCV). Reuse of needles and syringes when giving anti-schistosomiasis treatment was blamed for spreading HCV during the 1960s and 1970s.28 Oct 2014
Egypt has the highest prevalence of hepatitis C infection in the world. Approximately 15% of the population is estimated to have hepatitis C virus (HCV). Research conducted in the 1990s suggested that the reason for high HCV prevalence was a national campaign to treat schistosomiasis, a waterborne parasite infection, during the 1960s and 1970s. Reuse of needles and syringes when giving anti-schistosomiasis treatment was blamed for spreading HCV.
New research based on the 2008 Demographic Health Survey now suggeststhat the vast majority of infections in Egypt are the consequence of poor standards of infection control in health care, in barbers and beauty salons or through household transmission, and that only 10% of infections are attributable to the schistosomiasis treatment campaign. The researchers found no substantial difference in HCV prevalence between areas where the campaigns had taken place and areas unaffected by schistosomiasis.
But they did find a very strong association between clusters of people aged over 30 with HCV who had been exposed to the anti-schistosomiasis campaign and people under 30 with HCV who had never been exposed to the campaign. This relationship could be due to household transmission and transmission in local health facilities.
The findings indicate that infection control and improved safety of the blood supply are very high priorities in Egypt. In particular, education of nurses and others responsible for infection control is essential to reduce ongoing transmission.
Read the full text of the journal article in Hepatology here.
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