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Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo

On-line version ISSN 1678-9946

Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo vol.37 no.1 São Paulo Jan./Feb. 1995 



High prevalence of hepatitis C infection among Brazilian hemodialysis patients in Rio de Janeiro: a one-year follow-up study


Alta prevalência de infecção pelo virus da hepatite C em pacientes de hemodiálise do Rio de Janeiro: estudo de acompanhamento durante 1 ano



B. O. M. VanderborghtI,II; C. RouzereI,II; C. F. GinuinoII; G. MaertensI; H. Van HeuverswynI; C. F. T. YoshidaII

IInnogenetics N.V., Ghent, Belgium
IIDepartment of Virology, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Correspondence to




Nearly 400 hemodialysis patients treated at 5 different hemodialysis units in Rio de Janeiro were tested for one year for the presence of hepatitis C and B markers. During the same period, samples were also obtained from 35 continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) patients and from 242 health care workers. Depending on the hemodialysis unit studied, anti-HCV prevalence rates ranging from 47% to 82% (mean 65%) were detected. CAPD patients showed a lower prevalence of 17%. The prevalence of antibodies against hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) among health care workers was 2.9%. We observed a hepatitis C attack rate of 11.5% per year in the anti-HCV-negative hemodialysis patient population. An average of 9.4% of the hemodialysis patients were chronic carriers of hepatitis B virus (HBV) (range 1.8% - 20.4%), while 48.9% showed markers of previous HBV infection. The HBV attack rate was 4.5% per year (range 0% - 6%). These results indicate an alarming high prevalence of anti-HCV among hemodialysis patients of this studied region.

Keywords: Hemodialysis; CAPD, Health care workers; Hepatitis C virus; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis C transmission; Brazil.


Aproximadamente 400 pacientes de hemodiálise tratados em 5 diferentes unidades no Rio de Janeiro foram acompanhados durante 1 ano para presença de marcadores virais de hepatite B e C. Durante o mesmo período, amostras foram também de 35 pacientes ambulatoriais de diálise peritonial contínua (CAPD) e de 242 funcionários das unidades. Dependendo da unidade em estudo foram detectadas prevalências de anti-HCV variando de 47% a 82% (média 65%). Pacientes de CAPD demonstraram uma baixa prevalência de 17%. A prevalência de anti-HCV em funcionários foi de 2.9%. Observamos uma taxa de ataque de hepatite C de 11.5% por ano na população paciente de hemodiálise anti-HCV-negativo. Uma média de 9.4% de pacientes de hemodiálise eram portadores crônicos do vírus da hepatite B (VHB) (taxa de 1.8% a 20.4%), enquanto 48.9% apresentaram marcadores de infecção passada de HBV. A taxa de ataque de HBV foi de 4.5% por ano (taxa de 0% a 6%). Esses resultados indicam uma alarmante prevalência alta de anti-HCV em pacientes de hemodiálise dessa região estudada.



Full text available only in PDF format.

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The authors thank Lucy Dalva de Almeida and Felipe Loponte Saback for their excellent technical assistance, and Fred Shapiro for manuscript editing.



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Correspondence to:
B. Vanderborght
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Dep. de Virologia
Av. Brasil 4365
21040-360 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil
Phone and Fax:+ 55 21 270 63 97

Recebido para publicação em 06/05/1994.
Aceito para publicação em 25/08/1994.

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