Rapid Communication
Copyright ©2007 Baishideng Publishing Group Co., Limited. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Mar 28, 2007; 13(12): 1828-1832
Published online Mar 28, 2007. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v13.i12.1828
Prevalence and risk factors of asymptomatic hepatitis C virus infection in Egyptian children
MS El-Raziky, M El-Hawary, G Esmat, AM Abouzied, N El-Koofy, N Mohsen, S Mansour, A Shaheen, M Abdel Hamid, H El-Karaksy
MS El-Raziky, M El-Hawary, N El-Koofy, N Mohsen, S Mansour, H El-Karaksy, Departments of Pediatrics Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
G Esmat, Departments of Tropical Medicine Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
AM Abouzied, A Shaheen, M Abdel Hamid, Tropical Medicine Research Institute, Cairo, Egypt
Author contributions: All authors contributed equally to the work.
Supported by the Sustainable Sciences Institute, United States as part of the small grants program
Correspondence to: Mona El-Said El-Raziky, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, 8 street No. 25, El-Mokattam, Cairo11585, Egypt. mraziky@yahoo.com
Telephone: +202-5083321 Fax: +202-5059040
Received: December 19, 2006
Revised: December 23, 2006
Accepted: March 8, 2007
Published online: March 28, 2007

AIM: To identify the prevalence, risk factors and manifestations of asymptomatic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Egyptian children.

METHODS: Children at the age of 1-9 years were screened for HCV antibodies and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels. Every child with elevated ALT and/or detectable HCV antibodies was tested for HCV RNA by RT-PCR and compared with two negative controls for risk factors and signs and symptoms of liver disease.

RESULTS: We screened 1042 children, six of them had elevated ALT, negative HCV antibody and positive RNA, likely representing acute hepatitis C cases. Fifteen children were HCV seropositive, 5 of them were HCV RNA positive. Asymptomatic HCV infection was present in 2.02% (positive results for either HCV antibodies or HCV-RNA or both). Symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, history of fatigue and school absence because of illness and risk factors such as dental care were significantly more common among HCV positive cases than among controls. None of the HCV positive children was diagnosed as having signs of advanced liver disease upon clinical or ultrasonographic examination.

CONCLUSION: Asymptomatic HCV infection is detectable in 2.02% Egyptian children.

Keywords: Hepatitis C virus, Child, Egypt, Prevalence, Transfusion, Risk factor