May 19, 2013
2 min read

HCV prevalence higher among Asian-Americans

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ORLANDO, Fla. — There was a higher prevalence of hepatitis C infection among Asian-Americans than among non-Asians who received care at a free community clinic, researchers reported at Digestive Disease Week.

“Among non-Asians, the prevalence of HCV was similar to what was seen in NHANES data,” Mindie Nguyen, MD, associate professor of medicine at Stanford University, told Infectious Disease News. “Worldwide, a large amount of the HCV burden is in Asia, and we lacked data on whether Asian-Americans have a higher HCV prevalence that is similar to that in their countries of origin. We found that the prevalence of HCV among Asian-Americans was similar to the reported prevalence in many parts of Asia and Southeast Asia.”

Nguyen and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study that included patients who were seen from July 2011 to October 2012 at a free community primary care clinic, where HCV screening is recommended for all patients seeking routine care. The researchers collected clinical and risk factor data by reviewing medical records.

Of the 691 consecutive patients seen during the timeframe, 436 were screened for HCV with antibody testing. Fourteen of the patients had a positive antibody test and of those 11 were Asian, which resulted in an HCV prevalence of 4.5% for Asians (95% CI, 1.9-7.1), compared with a prevalence of 1.6% for non-Asians (95% CI, 0.21-3.3).

Of the three non-Asians with HCV, two had a history of illicit drug use. Among the Asian patients, one had a history of illicit drug use and one had a history of blood transfusion. The HCV risk factors for four patients were unknown. The remaining five Asians had only a history of prior surgery and uncertain risk factors. In addition, most of the Asians with HCV were foreign-born.

“A large majority of the Asian patients with positive HCV antibodies did not have any of the well-known risk factors for HCV infection,” Nguyen said. “Given the high prevalence, screening for HCV should be done for foreign-born Asian-Americans coming from endemic areas, as hepatitis B virus screening is currently recommended by the CDC for those coming from areas with an HBV prevalence of 2% or higher.”

Lin O. #Sa1069. High Prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus Infection (HCV) in Asian Americans in a Community Primary Care Clinic. Presented at: Digestive Disease Week; May 18-21, 2013; Orlando, Fla.

Disclosure: Nguyen reports financial relationships with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead, Onyx, Novartis, Vertex, Dynavax Technologies and Hoffman-LaRoche.