Background and Aims: The epidemiology and risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in developing countries where intravenous drug use (IDU) is uncommon its poorly understood. This study therefore aims to determine the prevalence of HCV and its associated risk factors among pregnant women in Calabar municipality.
Methods: A total of 506 out of 716 antenatal care (ANC) patients seen at the General Hospital, Mary Slessor Avenue, Calabar between August and November 2005 and the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) between October and November 2005 were evaluated for their HCV status using the One Step HCV Test kit (Binomial diagnostics, UK), with reference to the subjects' demographic and behavioural risk factors.
Results: HCV prevalence was determined to be 0.4% (2/506) and was only seen in women aged 38 years and over. Histories of blood transfusion, surgery, involvement in polygamous marriage, sharing of a toothbrush and female circumcision were all non-significant risk factors for the infection.
Conclusions: This study reveals a low HCV prevalence among pregnant women in Calabar municipality with no identifiable risk factor. The study calls for a re-evaluation of the transmission modes of HCV especially in developing countries where intravenous drug use is rare.
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