Prevalence and risk factors for intrafamilial transmission of hepatitis C virus in Karachi, Pakistan

Saeed Akhtar, T. Moatter, S. I. Azam, M. H. Rahbar, S. Adil

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Household contacts of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive patients are considered at increased risk of HCV infection. This cross-sectional study during April through June 1999 assessed the prevalence and risk behaviours associated with HCV seropositivity among the household contacts of HCV seropositive thalassaemic children in Karachi, Pakistan. Among the 341 household contacts of 86 thalassaemic HCV seropositive children who were tested, 70 (20.5%) were positive for anti-HCV antibodies. The stratified analysis showed that HCV seroprevalence among the contacts did not differ significantly by the gender of the index patient and the type of relationship of contact with the index patient. However, HCV seroprevalences among the fathers and mothers of male index patients was substantially higher compared to those of female index patients. HCV RNA was recovered and genotyped from nine index patients and corresponding nine HCV-seropositive household contacts. HCV genotype 3a and 3b were found in 89% (8/9) and 11% (1/9) of the pairs, respectively. The final multivariable conditional logistic regression model revealed that after adjusting for the effect of ethnicity and past hospital admission history, the HCV-seropositive household contacts were more likely than HCV seronegative household contacts to have been bitten by the carrier [adjusted matched odds ratio (mOR) = 2.6, 95% CI 1.3-5.2] or have shared a toothbrush with the carrier (adjusted mOR = 8.2; 95% CI 1.56-43.5). Control efforts should focus on the risk behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-314
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Household contacts
  • Intrafamilial transmission
  • Pakistan
  • Prevalence
  • Risk behaviours


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