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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2001  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14-20
Hepatitis C Virus Sero-status in Hemodialysis Patients Returning from Holiday: Another Risk Factor for HCV Transmission

1 King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Prince Sultan Dialysis and Transplantation Center, North Western Armed Forces Hospital, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Saeed M.G Al-Ghamdi
Department of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, P.O. Box 6615, Jeddah 21452
Saudi Arabia
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PMID: 18209355

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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is an endemic disease in most hemodialysis (HD) units in Saudi Arabia. We observed that many of our HD patients seroconvert shortly after returning from "holiday dialysis" in other units. We investigated this issue together with other possible factors related to HCV transmission. During the study period, 56 patients were being dialyzed in our unit. Systematic screening was performed on all patients for anti-HCV antibody utilizing ELISA 2.0 and/or RIBA 3.0 and HBsAg every three months together with aminotransferases activity. The same tests were carried out on patients returning from "holiday dialysis" in other units. Test for HCV-RNA was performed in patients with elevated aminotransferases and negative HCV serology. HCV-antibody was positive in 32 patients (57%) of whom 15 (27%) were already positive at the time of starting HD and 17 (30%) seroconverted after starting HD. A total of 24 patients (43%) remained sero-negative. Comparing the sero-converters (SC) to the remained sero-negatives (RSN), the SC had been out for "holiday dialysis" more than the RSN with a mean number of such HD treatments of 16 versus 4 (P= 0.006). The SC had longer duration on dialysis, 38 versus 19 months for the RSN. The two groups did not have significant difference in their age, sex, number of blood transfusions or prior kidney transplantation. Fourteen out of 17 SC (82%) had seroconverted after a mean duration of 100 days from leaving our unit for "holiday dialysis". Eight out of 24 (33%) of the RSN had dialysis outside our unit and remained sero-negative; HCV-RNA confirmed infection in three of them, all of whom had high amino transferase levels. Our study suggests that patients who have "holiday dialysis" in units with high prevalence of HCV-antibody, run a high risk of sero-conversion and may play a role in unit to unit transmission of HCV.

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