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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 1995  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 122-124
Prevalence of Antibodies Against the Hepatitis C Virus Among Voluntary Blood Donors at a Makkah Hospital


1 Department of Blood Transfusion, Al Noor Specialist Hospital, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Clinical Pathology, Al Noor Specialist Hospital, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Nephrology, Al Noor Specialist Hospital, Makkah, Saudi Arabia

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   Abstract 

One thousand four hundred and thirty nine voluntary blood donors attending the blood transfusion department at Al Noor Specialist Hospital, Makkah were screened for antibodies against hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) by second generation enzyme linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA). A total of 52 donors (3.6%) were anti-HCV positive. Anti-HCV was detected in 1.7% of the Saudi donors as compared to 6.9% among Non-Saudi donors. Scrutiny of the data revealed a higher rate of anti-HCV in the age-group of above 40 years than in the other age groups. Further, when Non-Saudi blood donors were analysed according to their nationalities, Egyptian donors showed a prevalence of 27.2% of anti-HCV followed by Pakistanis (1.9%), Bangladeshis (1.9%), Yemenis (1.5%) and other nationalities (0.5%). When blood samples from 92 patients on maintenance hemodialysis were tested for anti-HCV, 75 (81.5%) patients were found positive for anti-HCV. We conclude that the prevalence of anti-HCV among blood donors in the Makkah region of Saudi Arabia is high and routine screening for anti-HCV should be conducted for all blood donors before they are accepted for donation.

Keywords: Hepatitis C virus, Saudi Arabia, Blood donors, Hemodialysis.

How to cite this article:
Ahmad MS, Mahtab AM, Abdullatif A, Tashkandy MA, Kashreed MA, Maulana A. Prevalence of Antibodies Against the Hepatitis C Virus Among Voluntary Blood Donors at a Makkah Hospital. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 1995;6:122-4

How to cite this URL:
Ahmad MS, Mahtab AM, Abdullatif A, Tashkandy MA, Kashreed MA, Maulana A. Prevalence of Antibodies Against the Hepatitis C Virus Among Voluntary Blood Donors at a Makkah Hospital. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 1995 [cited 2020 Feb 21];6:122-4. Available from: http://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?1995/6/2/122/40850

   Introduction Top


There are few studies on the prevalence of antibody to the hepatitis C virus (HCV) among blood donors in Saudi Arabia. We tested blood samples from 1,439 voluntary blood donors and 92 patients with end-stage renal disease on hemodialysis (HD) for anti-HCV antibody to know the prevalence of anti-HCV amongst them in the city of Makkah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


   Subjects and Methods Top


This study was carried out at Al Noor Specialist Hospital, Makkah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Blood samples from 1,439 voluntary blood donors were collected for detection of anti-HCV. Each donor completed a proforma to provide the desired information including age, nationality and past history. Among the blood donors studied, 918 (63.8%) were Saudi nationals while the Non-Saudi group comprised of 521 (36.2%) donors. The Non-Saudi group included Egyptians (114), Pakistanis (105), Yemenis (67), Bangladeshis (53) and other nationalities (182). Besides the blood donors, 92 patients on maintenance HD were also tested for anti-HCV seropositivity.

Serum was separated from clotted blood samples by centrifugation and tested for anti-HCV with second generation enzyme linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) using commercial kits from Abbott Laboratories, USA. Samples which were positive for anti­HCV were subjected to Abbott HCV EIA supplemental assay in which, two different recombinant antigens which are separately coded on to two different beads, representing putative structural and non­structural regions of the HCV genome, was used. Though a non-reactive result by the supplemental assay was taken as negative, it was not used as a factor to reinstate a blood donor in accordance with the criteria supplied by Abbott Ltd.


   Results Top


A total of 1,439 voluntary blood donors were screened of whom 52 (3.6%) were anti­HCV positive. There were 918 Saudi donors of whom 16 (1.7%) were positive for anti­HCV as compared to 521 Non-Saudis of whom 36 (6.9%) showed anti-HCV positivity. When the Non-Saudis were classified according to their nationalities, HCV antibody was found most frequently in Egyptian donors (27.2%), followed by Pakistanis (1.9%), Bangladeshis (1.9%), Yemenis (1.5%) and other nationalities (0.5%) [Table - 1]. Also, it was observed that the prevalence of anti-HCV positivity increased from 2.2% in the age-group of 21­30 years to 9.3% in the age-group of above 40 years [Table - 2].

The overall prevalence of anti-HCV among patients on HD was 81.5%. Among them, the Saudis had a positivity rate of 84.9% as compared to 68.5% among Non-Saudis.


   Discussion Top


The overall prevalence of antibodies to HCV amongst voluntary blood donors at Al Noor Specialist Hospital, Makkah was 3.6%. None of the blood donors screened had a history of prior blood transfusions and there was no history of parenteral drug addiction thereby indicating that a non­parenteral route is likely to have been the major route of HCV infection. The anti-HCV prevalence varied between 1.7% among Saudi donors to 6.9% among Non-Saudi donors, a difference that is statistically significant (P < 0.01). However, the prevalence of anti-HCV of 1.7% among Saudi donors is higher than that reported from Germany [1] , Italy [2] , United Kingdom [3] and Riyadh city in Saudi Arabia [4] .

We found a strikingly high prevalence of anti-HCV positivity among blood donors of other nationalities, particularly the Egyptians (27.2%). Similar results were reported among Egyptians from the Armed Forces Hospital, Riyadh [5] . The reason for this unusual high prevalence rate of anti-HCV is unclear, but is suggestive of the existence of a hyperendemic situation in Egypt. Bassily, et al reported a prevalence rate of non-A, non-B hepatitis as high as 49.5% of all cases of acute hepatitis among adults living in Cairo, Egypt [6] .

Our data also show that the prevalence of anti-HCV in apparently healthy donor popu­lation, from Saudi as well as other national­ities, is high. The seropositivity of anti-HCV has been reported to increase with age [2],[7] . Our findings also confirm this observation.

An overall prevalence of anti-HCV of 81.52% in our patients on HD is higher than the 53.7% prevalence reported by Yisa, et al from Riyadh [8] . Earlier reports from United Kingdom [9] , Germany [10] and Spain [11] showed a anti­HCV prevalence rates of 1%, 5.5%, and 20% respectively among patients on HD.

In conclusion, it is suggested that more Saudi nationals should be encouraged to donate blood in preference to those Non­Saudis who belong to hyperendemic areas for HCV infection. All the blood donors must be screened for anti-HCV as a routine (This is already implemented in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). Additionally, despite the fact that second generation ELISA is more sensitive and specific than the first generation test, it is desirable to have a more sensitive test for anti-HCV to improve the safety of blood supply.

 
   References Top

1.Kuhnl P, Seidl S, Stangel W, Beyer J, Sibrowski W, Flik J. Antibody to hepatitis C virus in German blood donors. Lancet 1989;2:324.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Sirchia G, Bellobuono A, Giovanetti A, Marconi M. Antibodies to hepatitis C virus in Italian blood donors. Lancet 1989;2:797.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Contreras M, Barbara JA. Screening for hepatitis C virus antibody. Lancet 1989;2:505.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Al-Mofarreh M, Fakunle YM, El-Karamany WM, et al. Prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus in blood donors in Riyadh. Ann Saudi Med 1991;ll:501-3.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Saeed AA, Fairclough D, Al-Admawi AM, Bacchus R, Al-Raseed AM, Waller DK. High prevalence of HCV-antibody among Egyptian blood donors. Ann Saudi Med 1991;ll:591-2.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Bassily S, Hyams KC, el-Ghorab NM, Ansari AA, Farous AS. Acute sporadic hepatitis in adults living in Cairo, Egypt. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1986;35:1040-4.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Stevens CE, Taylor PE, Pindyck J, et al. Epidemiology of hepatitis C virus. A preliminary study in voluntary blood donors. JAMA 1990;263:49-53.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Fakunle YM, Al-Mofarreh M, El­Karamany WM, et al. Prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus in hemodialysis patients in Riyadh. Ann Saudi Med 1991;ll:504-6.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Mortimer PP, Cohen BJ, Litton PA, et al. Hepatitis C virus antibody. Lancet 1989;2:798.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Roggendorf M, Deinhardt F, Rasshofer R, et al. Antibodies to hepatitis C virus. Lancet 1989;2:324-5.  Back to cited text no. 10  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
11.Esteban JI, Esteban R, Viladomiu L, et al. Hepatitis C virus antibodies among risk groups in Spain. Lancet 1989;2:294-7.  Back to cited text no. 11  [PUBMED]  

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Correspondence Address:
Mujahid Shakil Ahmad
Department of Blood Transfusion, Al Noor Specialist Hospital, Makkah Al-Mukaramah
Saudi Arabia
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PMID: 18583848

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    Abstract
    Introduction
    Subjects and Methods
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    References
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