High HCV infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa, with particularly high prevalence in patients with HIV

Africa designHigh HCV infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa, with particularly high prevalence in patients with HIV

The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is high in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a report in journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. UNITED KINGDOM. The researchers performed a meta-analysis of studies involving about 213 1,2 million patients 33 countries. The overall prevalence of HCV was 3%, but differed between regions and groups at risk. About 6% of HIV-positive patients coinfected with HCV.

"We have registered high serum prevalence of hepatitis C among the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa, including HIV-positive adult patients," comment the authors. "We have identified a regional variation."

Overall to 150 million individuals are infected with HCV. Infection therefore represents a major challenge to global health, especially for the poorest countries. OS data on the epidemiology of hepatitis C virus in sub-Saharan Africa are still subinformados. In a review published in 2002 found a prevalence of 3%, but with significant regional variations. Few studies have examined coinfection rates HIV / HCV, but there is some evidence that HIV is associated with a higher risk of HCV infection.

The researchers wanted to update knowledge of the HCV epidemic in the region. Thus, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published between 2002 and 2014 who reported on the prevalence of HCV in sub-Saharan Africa and the high rates of co-infection HIV / HCV.

The studies were divided according to the question of whether the population was considered low risk for HCV (participants, blood donors, patients recruited from the general population), or high risk (patients with liver disease patients who had received the blood products or undergone surgery and injecting drug users). Patients with HIV infection were considered separately.

A total of 287 employees were included in the analysis, and HCV prevalence rate was about 3%. However, this index varied from region to region, ranging from 7% in Central Africa to 4% in West Africa and 1% in south-eastern Africa.

Low overall prevalence of risk groups was evaluated in 2,65%. But again there were some regional variations with the highest infection rates in central Africa and lowest in south-eastern Africa.

Just over 3% of the participants in antenatal clinic were HCV positive, an infection rate similar to that observed in all the low-risk population. The researchers therefore suggest that patients in prenatal would be a good population to follow the trends of HCV in the general population.

About 12% of high-risk individuals were infected with HCV. Prevalence ranged between 46% in a cohort of injecting drug users in Kenya to 10% among patients with liver disease.

About 6% of patients with HIV were co-infected with HCV, with rates ranging from about 7% in West Africa to 4,5% in south-eastern Africa.

"There is a clear unmet need for the prevention and treatment for HCV treatment access needs to be improved for both groups, both monoinfectado and co-infected," the authors conclude.


VBR Rao et al.Hepatitis C seroprevalence, co-infection with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis.The Lancet infect Dis, online: dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(15)00006-7 (2015).

Michael Carter

Published: June 10 2015

Translated by Claudio de Souza Santos the originalHigh HCV infection rate in sub-Saharan Africa, with high prevalence Especially in patients with HIVon Sunday, June 14 2015.