DAVAALKHAM - 2006



 


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HEPATITIS C

Davaalkham D, Ojima T, Nymadawa P, Uehara R, Watanabe M, Oki I, Nakamura Y. Prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis C virus infection in Mongolian children: Findings from a nationwide survey. J Med Virol. 78(4), 466-472, 2006.

Although the hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the major causes of chronic hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in Mongolia, its prevalence among children and routes of transmission are largely unknown. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies and the possible risk factors for transmission among school children using representative national data. A nationwide cross-sectional survey among elementary school children was conducted in four main geographical regions and the metropolitan area of Mongolia, through multistage, stratified, random cluster sampling. Serum samples from 1,145 children (response rate, 93%; 592 boys and 553 girls; age range, 7-12 years), which represented nearly 2% of the second grade population in Mongolia, were tested for HCV antibodies with a third-generation immunoradiometric assay (IRMA). Positive samples were further evaluated by a third-generation immunoblot assay (RIBA). A standardized questionnaire concerning the socio-demographic characteristics and potential risk factors was used. Overall, seven subjects were confirmed to be anti-HCV seropositive, giving a prevalence of 0.6% (95% CI: 0.15-1.0%). The prevalence of anti-HCV increased with age. In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, adjusted for age, sex, and residence, the history of dental manipulation (odds ratio [OR] = 15.4; 95% CI: 1.4-164.8) and surgery (OR = 8.3; 95% CI: 1.5-45.6) were associated independently with the presence of anti-HCV. These findings suggest that contaminated equipment used in the dental and surgical manipulations probably played a predominant role in HCV transmission among Mongolian children. Strict guidelines on disinfection and sterilization procedures of medical instruments have to be introduced and should be followed to improve the control of HCV infection in Mongolia.

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