Africa: Cultural practices may be driving hepatitis C infection rates in West Africa

Reports that suggest high rates of serologic false positives and low levels of viremia have contributed to uncertainty regarding the burden of active hepatitis C infection.

 A lack of knowledge surrounding the transmission and progression of hepatitis C virus infection in West African countries may be contributing to the spread of the disease, results of a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases indicate.

"This is a small study conducted at a blood bank in a teaching hospital in Ghana," explained Jennifer Layden, MD, PhD, of Loyola University in Chicago, Ill., in a press release. “The goal is to further understand whom is affected by hepatitis C and to identify specific next steps in intervention and prevention.”

More than 180 million people have hepatitis C. In developed countries, hepatitis C infection is often transmitted through intravenous (IV) drug use, but this may not be the case in West Africa, noted the investigators.


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