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A new study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology aimed to describe the prevalence of hepatitis C virus antibody, evaluate current risk factors associated with HCV antibody positivity and identify novel composite risk factors for the identification of groups most likely to demonstrate HCV antibody seropositivity in an obstetric population, between 2012 and 2015.
This was an observational study of mother-to-child transmission of HCV, initiated by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network. This study entailed offering HCV antibody screening to women presenting for prenatal care before 23 weeks of gestation without a known multifetal gestation. For each woman who was HCV antibody-positive, two women at similar gestational age who were HCV antibody-negative were identified and included for comparison. Risk factors were evaluated by patient interview and chart review.
Overall, 254 women had positive results. The findings revealed that the HCV antibody seroprevalence rate was 2.4 cases per 1 000 women. Overall, 131 women in the case group and 251 women in the control group were included in the case-control analysis. Factors associated with HCV antibody positivity included injection drug use, blood transfusion, having a partner with HCV, more than three lifetime sexual partners and smoking. A composite of any of these potential risk factors provided the highest sensitivity for detecting HCV antibody.
It was concluded that the seroprevalence of HCV antibody was low in this cohort and the current risk factors for HCV screening were not identified. It was stated that the results may be helpful in devising new strategies for identifying mothers with HCV antibody and neonates susceptible to maternal transmission of HCV.
Source: Prasad M, Saade G, Sandoval G et al. Hepatitis C Virus Antibody Screening in a Cohort of Pregnant Women. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2020:1. doi:10.1097/aog.0000000000003754