Home > Hepatitis C infection in an Irish antenatal population.

Healy, CM and Cafferkey, MT and Conroy, A and Dooley, S and Hall, WW and Beckett, M and Mackey, R and Clarke, TA and White, Martin J and Gorman, WA and Butler, KM (2000) Hepatitis C infection in an Irish antenatal population. Irish Journal of Medical Science, 169, (3), pp. 180-182.

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The aim of this study was to characterise the current trends of HCV in an Irish antenatal population. Hepatitis C infection (HCV) has an estimated seroprevalence of 1-2% in women of child-bearing age and a vertical transmission rate of 5-15%. Infants of HCV seropositive women, born 1994 to 1999, were referred to the Paediatric Infectious Diseases service. Maternal details were collected retrospectively.

In all 296 HCV seropositive women were studied. 244 (82%) were infected through intravenous drug use (IVDU), 25 (8%) through heterosexual contact and 13 (7) vial blood products. Nine women had no identifiable risk factors. Co-infection with other blood borne viruses was uncommon (4.7% HIV, 3.4% hepatitis B). Of 84 women tested for HCV-RNA, 46 (55%) were positive. Eighty three (26%) delivered prematurely; the caesarean section rate was 11%. HCV is increasinly detected in antenatal clinics. Heterosexual contact is a mode of spread. Maternal viraemia can be variable in pregnancy. Further study of HCV in pregnancy is needed to define the impart of pregnancy on HCV, accurately predict infant outcome and selectively target interventions at greatest risk of transmission.

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