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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 : 157-162
Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Dialysis Patients in United Arab Emirates

Department of Nephrology, Al Jazierah and Central Hospitals, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Correspondence Address:
Yassin I El Shahat
Department of Nephrology, Central Hospital, P O. Box 233, Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
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PMID: 18583857

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To evaluate the incidence of positivity of anti-hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) antibodies in the hemodialysis (HD) patients, and the impact of isolation of the anti-HCV positive patients, we studied 262 HD patients in our unit between January 1991 and December 1993. There were 64 patients with anti-HCV positivity. Forty nine of them were males, and 15 were females, with mean ages of 41.8 8.6 years. The mean dialysis period was 20.9 2.5 months. The serum anti-HCV antibodies were detected with second generation HCV enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. The test was repeated every three months for the patients, and every six months for the dialysis staff members. Dialyzers were not reused. Isolation of the positive patients by using designated HD machines was performed, besides adopting the universal precautions of infection. At the time of the inclusion to the study 45 patients out of 64 (70.3%) were anti-HCV positive. In this group 42% received blood transfusions, 17.5% started hemodialysis in another dialysis unit. Nineteen patients (29.7%) seroconverted during the study period. In this group, nine patients (47.6%) received blood transfusions (1.7 + 0.5 units). Of the seroconverted patients, eight (42%) travelled abroad and received HD during their holidays. Eight of the seroconverted patients did not have identifiable risk factors except HD. The overall seroconversion rate was 0.95 per 100 patient months. The rate decreased to 0.4 per 100 patient months if the identifiable causes for seroconversion (blood transfusion, duration of dialysis, holiday dialysis) were excluded. We conclude that HCV infection is frequent in hemodialysis patients. Strict follow up of the universal precautions together with isolation of anti-HCV positive patients with designated machines may be sufficient to prevent nosocomial transmission of HCV infection. The risk of transfusion may be minimized by using r-Human erythropoietin in the treatment of anemia in this population.

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