Increasing frequency of Anti-HCV seropositivity in a cross-section of people in Karachi, Pakistan

Farhan Essa Abdullah, Hamdan Ahmed Pasha, Adeel Ali Memon, Ujala Nadir Shah


Objective: To determine the current frequency of circulating anti-HCV antibody in a cross section of subjects in Karachi, Pakistan and compare it with previous observations.
Methodology: A total of 35,191 individuals of both sexes presenting at a private diagnostic lab and its branches in Karachi city were screened for Anti-HCV antibody during a two year period ending Dec 2010. Positive tests were detected using EVOLIS automated 4th generation analyzer and confirmed with COBAS e411 random access solid phase chemiluminescent enzyme immunoassay. Also, a retrospective scrutiny of 37,391 subjects tested in the same lab during 2002-07 suggested 5.9% anti-HCV seropositivity, and was considered for comparison.
Results: Anti-HCV antibodies were detected in 3170 (9.01%) of those assessed. The youngest positive subject was a 5-day-old male neonate, the eldest an 82-year-old male. The majority of carriers (48.0%) were aged 30-49 years and 53.1% of those tested positive in Karachi, Pakistan were female. Carrier rate of anti-HCV antibody was 5.9% during 2002-07 recorded in the same lab.
Conclusion: HCV antibody frequency in our Karachi subjects have steadily increased from 5.9% in 2002-07 to 9.01% in 2009-10, encouraging awareness and enquiry of reasons for the increasing reach of a significant virus.

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