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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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Year : 2000  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 218-222
Hepatitis C Virus Antibodies in Dialysis Patients in Tunisia: A Single Center Study

1 Laboratoire d’immunologie, Hôpital Charles Nicolle, Tunisia
2 Service de Nephrologie et de Médecine Interne, Hôpital Charles Nicolle, Tunisia
3 Centre d’hémodialyse, Boukornine, Tunisia

Correspondence Address:
K Ayed
Laboratoire d’immunologie, Hôpital Charles Nicolle, Boulevard du 9 Avril (1006)
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PMID: 18209319

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Fifty-eight patients on maintenance hemodialysis in a dialysis unit at Tunis, Tunisia were tested for anti-hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) antibodies by second generation ELISA test, and for HCV-RNA by nested reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of 5' non-coding region. Specificity of the antibodies was confirmed by immunoblot test. HCV genotype was defined using INNO-LIPA test. Twenty-seven out of 58 patients (46.5%) were reactive by ELISA. Transaminase levels were assessed over a six-month period and showed normal average values. Fourteen of the 27 anti-HCV positive patients (51%) were positive by RT-PCR. Type 1b HCV genotype was the most prevalent, seen in all the dialysis patients and one patient in addition, was co­infected with genotype 4. There was a significant correlation between the duration on dialysis (over five years) and the prevalence of anti-HCV-positive patients (P<0.005) while no correlation existed between the number of blood transfusions and the presence of anti­HCV antibodies. The present study illustrates the high prevalence of HCV infection among Tunisian dialysis patients (51%) and indicates that the spread may be nosocomial rather than transfusion-related.

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