Prevalence and risk factors of hepatitis C virus and its association with diabetes mellitus in rural versus urban districts in the Beni-Suef Governorate, Egypt

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Abstract

Background

The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is reported to be high in Egypt.

Aim of the study

To study the prevalence of HCV, its risk factors, and association with diabetes mellitus in rural versus urban areas in Beni-Suef Governorate, Egypt.

Patients and methods

Participants were selected randomly, 400 from a rural area (Ehwa village) and 165 from an urban area (New Beni-Suef city). A questionnaire was administered, and clinical and laboratory workup of all participants was performed including HCV antibody, alanine transaminase, and fasting blood glucose, whereas HCV-RNA by PCR was performed only for HCV antibody-positive patients with increased alanine transaminase levels.

Results

The prevalence of HCV was 36% in the rural versus 18.2% the urban area. Overall, 94.4% of the patients were PCR positive in the rural area versus 63.3% in the urban area. In the younger age group (≤30 years) a significant risk factor was informal circumcision in rural areas, whereas blood transfusion was the risk factor in both areas. In the older age group (>30 years) significant risk factors were bilharziasis and endoscopy in rural areas, whereas blood transfusion and parenteral treatment for bilharziasis were risk factors in both areas. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus was significantly higher among HCV-positive patients in both areas. Impaired fasting glucose was significantly present in patients from the urban area.

Conclusion

HCV seropositivity is more prevalent in rural than urban areas, with variable risk factors found between both communities. Screening for HCV is advised in patients with glucose abnormalities.

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