The team evaluated the prevalence of and the risk factors for hepatitis C and B viruses among inhabitants of a rural area of South Korea.
They published their results in the latest issue of the British Journal of Cancer.
A total of 700 adults above the age of 40 years were studied.
Seropositivity for hepatitis C virus antibody (11%) was found to be higher than that for hepatitis B surface antigen (4.4%).
| Repeated acupuncture increases HCV risk by 2-fold.
| British Journal of Cancer |
Anti-hepatitis C virus seropositivity was associated with a history of repeated acupuncture (odds ratio = 2.1).
It was also linked with blood transfusion (odds ratio = 5.5) before 1992, when hepatitis C virus screening in blood donors became mandatory.
The researchers found that hepatitis C virus 2a was the most prevalent genotype, followed by 1b.
Hepatitis C virus risk attributable to acupuncture was 38% (9% for men and 55% for women).
The authors comment that safer acupuncture practice has become a priority for hepatitis C virus prevention in South Korea.