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News

High Hep C infection among immigrants in New York

There is a high prevalence of Hep C infection among immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the New York City Metropolitan Area, shows April's American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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Inadequate sterilization and reuse of medical equipment likely contributed to Hepatitis C virus transmission in the former Soviet Union.

Although New York leads the nation in the number of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, the epidemiology of Hepatitis C virus infection has not been evaluated in this population.

Hep C virus seropositivity was 11% in immigrants from Russia
American Journal of Gastroenterology

Dr Edmund Bini and colleagues from New York, USA determined the prevalence of and risk factors for Hepatitis C virus infection among immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the New York metropolitan area.

The team conducted a 3-day community-based Hepatitis C virus screening program in the 2 boroughs of the New York metropolitan area with the highest density of former Soviet Union immigrants.

Russian cable television was used to invite subjects to come in for free Hepatitis C virus testing.

In the last 2 days of screening, each person also completed an Hepatitis C virus risk factor questionnaire.

The researchers found that the overall prevalence of Hepatitis C virus seropositivity among the 283 subjects was 28%.

The prevalence of Hepatitis C virus infection was similar in men and women.

The team noted the highest prevalence of Hepatitis C virus infection, and was highest in subjects 70 year old occurred in 35%.

Hepatitis C virus seropositivity was 11% in immigrants from Russia, 29% from Uzbekistan, 31% from the Ukraine, and 37% from other regions.

Intramuscular injections, and blood transfusions were the only variables that were significantly associated with Hepatitis C virus infection in the multivariable analysis.

Dr Bini's team concluded, "In this community-based screening program we found a high prevalence of Hepatitis C virus infection among immigrants from the former Soviet Union."

"These infections resulted from inadequately sterilized medical equipment and blood transfusions."

"Universal Hepatitis C virus testing should be strongly considered for all former Soviet Union immigrants."

Am J Gastroenterol 2008: 103(4): 922-7
14 April 2008

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