Print version ISSN 0120-4157
MONSALVE-CASTILLO, Francisca et al. Low prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in a prisoner population from Maracaibo, Venezuela. Biomédica [online]. 2009, vol.29, n.4, pp. 647-652. ISSN 0120-4157.
Introduction. The high risk behaviors observed in prison centers have favored the transmission of hepatitis C virus infection. The main risk factor to acquire hepatitis C virus infection seems to be the use of intravenous drugs. In Venezuela, the prevalence of the infection in these centers is unknown since studies of the hepatitis C virus there are lacking. Objective. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of hepatitis C virus and the risk factors involved in the transmission in prisoner populations. Material and methods. A sample of 200 prisoners was studied from Sabaneta Jail, Maracaibo, Venezuela. The ages were between 18-69 years (average ± DS: 31.6±9.9 years). Serum samples were tested by a fourth generation enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay ELISA and a confirmatory assay INNO-LIA. Both kits were from Innogenetic Laboratories N.V. (Belgium). Viral RNA was tested by the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction technique (RT-PCR). Results. The ELISA assay determined a hepatitis C virus prevalence of 5.0% (10/200); 3/200 (1.5%) individuals were positive by both INNO-LIA and RT-PCR tests. Conclusions. The observed prevalence of hepatitis C virus antibodies in this population was very low, suggesting a low circulation of the virus in this environment and a low level of associated risk behaviors.
Keywords : hepatitis C; prevalence; prisoners; Venezuela.