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Study Shows High Hepatitis C Rates In Pregnant Women.

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Study Shows High Hepatitis C Rates In Pregnant Women.

(CTN News) – According to a recent study published in THE LANCET Discovery Science’s Hepatitis eClinicalMedicine, it has been found that the prevalence of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is relatively high among pregnant women.

Although mother-to-child/vertical transmission (MTCT) is generally not a common route of HCV transmission,

It has been identified as the primary cause of pediatric hepatitis C.

This highlights the significance of addressing HCV infection in pregnant women to prevent transmission to their children.

The global burden of HCV infection is substantial, affecting millions of individuals each year. In 2019 alone, there were over 58 million people worldwide living with HCV, and approximately 14.9 million infections occurred in women aged 15 to 49 years.

This emphasizes the urgent need for effective strategies to combat HCV and protect the health of both pregnant women and their children.

The transmission of the virus occurs mainly through infected blood transfusions, therapeutic injections, intravenous drug use or blood products, sexual contact, and mother-to-child transmission.

The rate of transmission from HCV-positive pregnant women to their babies is approximately 5.8%, which increases to 10.8% if the pregnant women are co-infected with both Hepatitis HCV and HIV.

To achieve the WHO’s goal of eliminating HCV by 2030, it is essential to gain a better understanding of the association between HCV and pregnant women, as current knowledge is limited.

To address this, Hepatitis researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of nearly 200 observational studies from January 1, 2000, to April 1, 2023, sourced from PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science, Embase, Scopus, and SciELO databases.

Researchers analyzed global HCV prevalence in pregnant women using four large studies and conducted subgroup and meta-regression analyses to explore potential risk factors. Out of 192 eligible studies with 148,509,760 pregnant women from 53 countries, HCV prevalence was 1.80% (95% CI, 1.72–1.89%) and 3.29% (3.01–3.57%).

The Eastern Mediterranean region had the highest prevalence at 6.21% (4.39–8.29%), while the Western Pacific region had the lowest at 0.75% (0.38–1.22%).

Higher human development index levels were associated with lower virus prevalence, while risk factors such as advanced age, limited education, sexual activity, previous medical procedures, and positive hepatitis B tests were linked to decreased virus prevalence.

Pregnant women were found to have a significant burden of HCV exposure, estimated at 2.2 to 5.3 million cases, highlighting the need for expanded HCV screening in this population. Further studies are recommended to evaluate the safety of existing therapeutic drugs during pregnancy and to develop drugs specifically for pregnant women.

SEE ALSO:

France Unveils Ambitious 4-Year Anti-Smoking Plan, Targets Beaches And Cigarette Prices

 

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