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      Lower prevalence of anti-hepatitis C antibody in dialysis and renal transplant patients in Ireland.

      Irish Journal of Medical Science

      Risk Factors, Adult, Female, Hepacivirus, immunology, Hepatitis Antibodies, analysis, Hepatitis C, epidemiology, transmission, Hepatitis C Antibodies, Humans, Incidence, Ireland, Kidney Transplantation, Male, Middle Aged, Prevalence, Renal Dialysis

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          It is well recognised that haemodialysis and renal transplant patients are at increased risk of developing non-A, non-B hepatitis. Recently the genome of hepatitis C virus (HCV), the major causative agent for non-A, non-B hepatitis, has been isolated. Anti-HCV seroprevalence was assessed in all haemodialysis patients (266) in Ireland who in March 1990 had been dialysed for at least 6 months. For comparative purposes, 272 patients who had functioning renal transplants for greater than 6 months were also studied. Potential risk factors such as age, number of blood transfusions and time on dialysis were evaluated. The prevalence of HCV infection as evidenced by antibody detection was only 1.1% for transplant and 1.7% for haemodialysis patients. This compares to a reported incidence of between 10% and 50% found elsewhere. Two of the 5 anti-HCV positive haemodialysis patients and 2 of the 3 transplant patients had biochemical evidence of liver disease. From stored sera it was possible to ascertain when patients acquired HCV. Whether the very low prevalence of anti-HCV in Irish patients is due to the low prevalence of the virus in the general population, the policy of non reimbursement of blood donors, genetic or other factors, remains to be determined.

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