Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Population-based estimate of hepatitis C virus prevalence in Ontario, Canada

PLoS One. 2018

Population-based estimate of hepatitis C virus prevalence in Ontario, Canada
Shelly Bolotin , Jordan J. Feld, Gary Garber, William W. L. Wong, Fiona M. Guerra, Tony Mazzulli Published: January 23, 2018

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most burdensome infectious illness in Canada. Current screening strategies miss a significant proportion of cases, leaving many undiagnosed. Elevated HCV prevalence in those born between 1945 and 1965 has prompted calls for birth-cohort screening in this group. However, Canada lacks population-level data to support this recommendation. We performed a serosurvey to obtain population-based HCV prevalence estimates in Ontario residents born between 1945–1974, to generate evidence for birth-cohort screening recommendations.

We tested anonymized residual sera in five-year age-sex bands from Ontario for anti-HCV antibody. We performed descriptive epidemiological analysis and used a logistic regression model to determine HCV risk-factors.

Of 10,006 sera analyzed, 155 (1.55%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.32, 1.81) were positive for HCV antibody. Individuals born between 1950–1964 had a significantly higher combined prevalence of 1.92% (95% CI 1.56, 2.34) compared to 1.14% (95% CI 0.69, 1.77) (p = 0.04) for those born between 1970–1974. For males, comprising 107/155 (69.03%) of positive samples, the highest prevalence was 3.00% (95% CI 1.95, 4.39) for the 1960–1964 birth-cohort. For females, the highest prevalence was 1.56% (95% CI 0.83, 2.65) for those born between 1955–1959. Male sex was significantly associated with positive HCV serostatus.

HCV prevalence in Ontario is highest among those in this birth cohort, and higher than previous estimates. The prevalence estimates presented in our study provide important data to underpin birth-cohort screening recommendations.

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