(INF-P14) Screening for HCV in pregnant women and their partners
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence in Sweden is estimated to <0.5% but 1% in the population born in 1950s and 1960s. The dominating route of transmission is injection drug use (IDU), but blood transfusions constituted a risk before 1992. It has been estimated that about 30,000 neonates got transfusions 1965-1991, now being adults and unaware of the risk. The aim was to study if general screening at antenatal clinics could identify undiagnosed HCV-infections in both women and men, and to assess the HCV prevalence in this population.
Every pregnant woman and her partner in Örebro County and in Southern part of Stockholm were offered HCV-screening when visiting an antenatal clinic October 2013 –February 2016. They completed a questionnaire about risk factors for HCV and had a blood test for anti-HCV.
All 28 antenatal clinics in Örebro County and 10 clinics in Stockholm participated. In Örebro there were 2,853 women and 693 men. Anti-HCV was positive in 14 (7 women, 7 men), 5 were previously unknown. Two were HCV-RNA negative. The risk factor for transmission was IDU in all 14, and 12 had a partner with HCV, and 13/14 were born in Sweden. In Stockholm totally 1,252 women and 301 men participated. There were 19 (17 women, 2 men) with positive anti-HCV, 4 were previously unknown. Nine were HCV-RNA negative. The risk factor in 13/19 was IDU, 11 had a partner with HCV, and 12/19 were born in Sweden.
Screening at antenatal clinics can be used to identify HCV-infected women and men who need follow-up and therapy. The interest in screening was high among pregnant women, additionally about 25% of their partners were tested. These results indicate a prevalence of viremic HCV infections of approximately 0.4% in the age group represented by parents to be in Sweden.