Prevalence of Hepatitis C and associated risk factors among pregnant women of district Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Zobia Afsheen, Bashir Ahmad, Huang Linfang


Background: The epidemiological study of Hepatitis caused by Hepatitis C viruses during pregnancy is absolutely necessary for program managers and health planners. Currently, enough data exist regarding viral hepatitis among pregnant women in various districts of KP, Pakistan, however, proper published data from district Nowshera is not available. The study was aimed at determining the prevalence of hepatitis C infection along with its associated risk factors among pregnant women who attended the antenatal clinics at district Nowshera, KP.

Methods: One hundred and fifty (150) blood samples were obtained from pregnant women attending antenatal centers at district headquarter hospital Nowshera. Rapid immune-chromatographic technique (ICT) was used for detection of antibodies against HCV. Further confirmation of antibodies was done using Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) followed by Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for detection of HCV-RNA.

Results: Among 150 pregnant women, 7 (4.66%) were positive for HCV of which 5 (3.33%) were found positive for Anti-HCV antibodies while 2(1.33%) showed positivity for HCV-RNA. A significant association of age (x2 = 9.345, df = 3, P = 0.025), Gravidity (x2 = 9.15, df = 2, P = 0.010), education (x2 = 48.00, df = 5, P = 0.000), and Blood Transfusion (x2 = 4.629, df = 1, P = 0.031) was found with prevalence of HCV.

Conclusion: The study revealed 4.66% HCV prevalence among pregnant women of district Nowshera.  The age, gravidity, and blood transfusion were the risk factors found significantly associated with HCV positivity in pregnant women. Additionally, the educational level of these women was also linked with the viral infection. 

Keywords: Hepatitis C virus, Pregnancy, Risk factor association, Nowshera

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