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Prevalence of Hepatitis (A–E) and HTLV-I/II Infection Markers in Hemodialysis Patients of Central Greece

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The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of serological and molecular markers of hepatitis (A–E) and human T-lymphotropic viruses (HTLV) in hemodialysis (HD) patients of central Greece. Methods: 

370 patients (246 males, 60 ± 14 years) attending the renal units (RUs) of central Greece (n = 5) were tested for anti-HAV IgG, hepatitis B virus markers, anti-HCV, anti-HEV, and anti-HTLV-I/II with ELISA. In 131 casual samples, regardless of anti-HCV status, a sensitive, qualitative HCV-RNA assay (Versant®, Bayer) based on transcription-mediated amplification (TMA) was applied. Results: 

Previous HBV infection (anti-HBc) was found in 48% and current HBV infection in 5.5% (HbsAg) of the patients. Anti-HAV was detected in 94% while anti-HDV and anti-HTLV were negative. Anti-HCV prevalence was 23% varying from 11 to 36% in the different RUs. Frequency of anti-HEV (4.1%) was also highly varying (1.4–9.8%). There was no association between the infection markers and age, sex, or history of transfusion. Anti-HCV correlated with duration of HD. HCV-RNA was detected in 44/131 samples. In 15 cases results of anti-HCV and TMA were contradicting. Two anti-HCV negative samples were HCV-RNA positive (2.3%). Conclusion: 

In RUs of central Greece, a high prevalence of HCV infection was found, associated with the duration of HD. The high prevalence of anti-HEV found in 1 RU must be investigated further. In some of anti-HCV-negative patients viremia was detected. This result indicates that a considerable number of HCV infections are serologically occult. HCV-RNA testing, regardless of the anti-HCV status, has to be considered seriously in HD patients.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Nephrology and Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University Thessaly, Larissa 2: Blood Bank at the University Hospital of Ioannina, Greece.

Publication date: 01 January 2004

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