Reuters Health Information (2008-05-07): HCV common in former Soviet Union immigrants living in NYC
HCV common in former Soviet Union immigrants living in NYC
Last Updated: 2008-05-07 15:30:38 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection is high among immigrants from the former Soviet Union residing in the New York City metropolitan area, a research shows.
While injection drug use is the most common cause of HCV transmission in the US, inadequately sterilized medical equipment and blood transfusions are the likely modes of HCV transmission in former Soviet Union immigrants, researchers say.
Dr. Steven Batash from New York University School of Medicine and colleagues conducted a 3-day community-based HCV screening program in Brooklyn and Queens - the two areas in New York with the highest density of former Soviet Union immigrants. "Russian cable television was used to invite subjects to come in for free HCV screening."
The overall prevalence of HCV infection among the 283 subjects screened was 28.3%, the team reports in the April issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology. The prevalence was similar in men and women (30.3% and 26.5%, respectively) and was highest in people aged 70 years or older (35.0%).
HCV seropositivity was 11.1% in immigrants from Russia, 29.0% from Uzbekistan, 31.0% from Ukraine, and 36.8% from other regions.
In multivariable analysis, intramuscular injections (odds ratio, 9.1) and blood transfusions (OR, 3.2) were the only variables significantly associated with HCV infection.
"Given the high prevalence of HCV infection among immigrants from the former Soviet Union, our findings suggest that universal HCV testing should be strongly considered in this population," Dr. Batash and colleagues conclude.
Am J Gastroenterol 2008;103:922-927.