Changing seroepidemiology of hepatitis B, C, and D virus infections in high-risk populations.

Journal of medical virology

PubMedID: 14635009

Huo TI, Wu JC, Wu SI, Chang AL, Lin SK, Pan CH, Huang YH, Chang FY, Lee SD. Changing seroepidemiology of hepatitis B, C, and D virus infections in high-risk populations. J Med Virol. 2004;72(1):41-5.
Needle-sharing and sexual contact are important transmission routes of hepatitis B, C, and D virus (HBV, HCV, HDV) infection. This study aimed to investigate the current status of these viral infections among high-risk populations including prostitutes and intravenous (i.v.) drug users, compared with the prevalence rate reported previously to examine the changing seroepidemiology. Of the 916 female prostitutes, 79 (9%) were positive for antibody to HCV (anti-HCV), 111 (12%) were positive for HBV surface antigen (HBsAg), and 5 (5%) had antibody to HDV (anti-HDV). The prevalence rate was significantly lower compared to that in 1989-1991 (12%, P = 0.037) for HCV infection, and to that in 1988 (59%) and 1996 (40%) (P < 0.0001) for HDV infection. Of the 494 i.v. drug users, 87 (18%) patients were HBsAg carriers and 12 (14%) were anti-HDV-positive. The prevalence rate of HDV infection was significantly lower than that reported in 1985 (79%, P < 0.0001). Among the 443 tested i.v. drug users, 182 (41%) were anti-HCV-positive, significantly lower than that in 1985 (53%, P = 0.026). Of the 263 male prostitutes, 11 (4%) were anti-HCV-positive, 45 (17%) were HBsAg-positive, and 7 (16%) were anti-HDV-positive. Of the 129 illegal immigrant prostitutes, 7 (5%) were anti-HCV-positive, 15 (12%) were HBsAg-positive and none were positive for anti-HDV. In conclusion, the findings indicate a declining prevalence of HCV and HDV infections among drug users and prostitutes over the past 16 years. Male prostitutes and immigrant prostitutes are new "high-risk" populations and may become a reservoir for disease transmission.