Epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection in Pakistan
Nadeem Sajjad Raja, Khalid Abbas Janjua
Department of Medical Microbiology, Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Essex, United Kingdom; and District Headquarters Hospital, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Received: December 25, 2005 Revised: June 7, 2006 Accepted: July 13, 2006
Dr. Nadeem Sajjad Raja, Department of Medical Microbiology, Southend University Hospital, Prittlewell Chase, Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 0RY, Essex, United Kingdom. E-mail: Professor Shang-Shyng Yang
Since the discovery of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in 1989 as the causative agent of post-transfusion non-A non-B hepatitis, the epidemiology, pattern of transmission, different genotypes and clinical consequences of the disease have been studied worldwide, but little is known about the epidemiology of HCV infection in Pakistan. This paper reviews the available evidence on the epidemiology of HCV infection in Pakistan obtained via MEDLINE search (1970-2005) of published articles with key words hepatitis C and Pakistan, and other sources including ongoing discussions within the medical community. Approximately 10 million people have been infected with HCV in Pakistan. The majority of patients have acquired their infection through unsafe injections, reuse of syringes and needles and community barber shops used for face and armpit shaving. More than two-thirds of HCV patients were 40 to 50 years old. Although at present a small proportion of those with chronic HCV infection develop liver failure or hepatocellular carcinoma, it is estimated that the incidence of these advanced disease complications will increase over the coming years.
Epidemiology; Hepacivirus; Hepatitis C; Pakistan; Public health
J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2008;41:4-8.