The researchers compared demographic, clinical, and histological features of hepatitis C in four ethnic groups seen at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Hepatitis Clinic.
They reported their findings in the August issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
A total of 256 patients with chronic hepatitis C were evaluated, with 132 (52%) receiving a liver biopsy as part of their evaluation.
Fibrosis progression was estimated in 103 patients with known duration of disease.
Asians (6%) were underrepresented in the hepatitis C cohort, whereas Latinos (51%) were overrepresented, as compared with the entire county population.
A history of injection drug use was more frequent in Whites (65%) than in African Americans (45%), Latinos (47%), or Asians (0%). It was also more frequent in Latinos (59%) than in Latinas (26%). Such a gender difference was not found in African Americans or Whites.
| Latinos represented 51% of hepatitis C patients in LA.
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
The researchers found that the amount of alcohol consumed daily was higher in African Americans than in Asians and Whites.
African Americans (0.077 fibrosis stages/year) and Whites (0.084/year) had significantly lower mean estimated progression of liver fibrosis than Latinos (0.215/year) with hepatitis C virus infection. This was likely related to their longer estimated duration of disease.
Author M. Bonacini, of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, said on behalf of the group, "Minorities represent the majority of chronic hepatitis C cases in the Los Angeles County Hepatitis Clinic.
"Asians, Latinas, and African Americans are less likely to report injection drug use as a risk factor for hepatitis C virus."
"Latinos seem to have faster liver fibrosis progression rates than either African Americans or Whites," it was concluded.