International Journal of Medicine and Public Health,2014,4,1,81.
Introduction: Hepatitis C is a major public health problem globally. There are limited studies on age and sex related prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV). As hepatitis C is a preventable disease, the burden of the disease could be reduced to a significant extent if its seroprevalence is better known in different age groups. Objective: The objective of this study is to determine age-wise seroprevalence of HCV in clinically suspected infectious hepatitis patients. Materials and Methods: This prospective study was conducted in the Department of Microbiology at Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi over a period of one year from January 2008 to December 2008. All the serum samples taken from subjects (600 study and 200 control) were tested for immunoglobulin M (IgM) anti HCV using commercially available enzyme linked immunosorbent assay kit. Study group consisted of patients with clinically suspected acute infectious hepatitis while the control group had age and sex matched patients showing no clinical evidence of acute infectious hepatitis. Results: Overall 33 (5.5%) samples tested positive for IgM anti HCV in the study group while 3 (1.5%) samples tested positive in the control group. On analyzing age-wise seropositivity, it was found that maximum seropositivity of IgM anti HCV was in 11-20 years of age group in the study group (9%) followed by 21-30 years (6.1%), 0-10 years (5.1%) and >40 years (3.7%) of age. On the other hand in the control group, the maximum seropositivity of IgM anti HCV was seen in 0-10 years (2.8%) followed by 11-20 years (2.7%). Conclusions: HCV infection is predominantly a disease of young adults, which is due to cumulative risk of exposure with increasing age. However infection in children is explained by the mother to baby transmission. Most of the HCV infected patients are unaware of their clinical status and hence the disease may be under reported.