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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

versión impresa ISSN 0100-879Xversión On-line ISSN 1414-431X


TORRES, M.C.M.R. et al. Hepatitis C virus infection in a Brazilian population with sickle-cell anemia. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2003, vol.36, n.3, pp.323-329. ISSN 0100-879X.

Patients with sickle-cell anemia submitted to frequent blood transfusions are at risk of contamination with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Determination of HCV RNA and genotype characterization are parameters that are relevant for the treatment of the viral infection. The objective of the present study was to determine the frequency of HCV infection and the positivity for HCV RNA and to identify the HCV genotype in patients with sickle-cell anemia with a history of blood transfusion who had been treated at the Hospital of the HEMOPE Foundation. Sera from 291 patients were tested for anti-HCV antibodies by ELISA 3.0 and RIBA 3.0 Chiron and for the presence of HCV RNA by RT-PCR. HCV genotyping was performed in 19 serum samples. Forty-one of 291 patients (14.1%) were anti-HCV positive by ELISA and RIBA. Both univariate and multivariate analysis showed a greater risk of anti-HCV positivity in those who had started a transfusion regime before 1992 and received more than 10 units of blood. Thirty-four of the anti-HCV-positive patients (34/41, 82.9%) were also HCV RNA positive. Univariate analysis, used to compare HCV RNA-negative and -positive patients, did not indicate a higher risk of HCV RNA positivity for any of the variables evaluated. The genotypes identified were 1b (63%), 1a (21%) and 3a (16%). A high prevalence of HCV infection was observed in our patients with sickle-cell anemia (14.1%) compared to the population in general (3%). In the literature, the frequency of HCV infection in sickle-cell anemia ranges from 2 to 30%. The serological screening for anti-HCV at blood banks after 1992 has contributed to a better control of the dissemination of HCV infection. Because of the predominance of genotype 1, these patients belong to a group requiring special treatment, with a probable indication of new therapeutic options against HCV.

Palabras clave : Hepatitis C; Anti-HCV antibodies; HCV RNA; HCV genotype; Sickle-cell anemia.

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