Evidence of association between hepatitis C virus genotype 2b and nosocomial transmissions in hemodialysis centers from southern Brazil

Silva, Naylê Maria Oliveira da; Germano, Fabiana Nunes; Sassi, Raúl Andrés Mendoza; Abreu, Hector Nicolas Seuánez; Soares, Marcelo Alves; Martinez, Ana Maria Barral de


Background: Hepatitis C virus infection is a serious public health problem. Hemodialysis is considered one of the main risk factors of HCV infection, due to several invasive medical procedures and potential nosocomial transmission that patients with chronic renal failure (CRF) are continuously submitted. The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of HCV and its genotypes in patients with CRF in hemodialysis units in southern Brazil. Methods: Demographic data and risk factors for HCV transmission were collected and analyzed. These data were obtained from patients undergoing hemodialysis treatment from January 2009 to August 2010, on two dialysis units of Rio Grande, southern Brazil. Genotyping was carried out by sequencing analysis of HCV NS5b, core-E1 junction and 5′UTR genomic regions. Results: One hundred fifty-nine patients under regular hemodialysis treatment were studied. HCV prevalence was 23.3%. HCV-infected patients had been on dialysis treatment for 91.9 months, a more prolonged period compared to HCV-negative patients (p = 0.001). While HCV genotypes 1b and 3a were identified as the most frequent strains, a surprisingly high proportion of genotype 2b was observed among patients in one of the dialysis centers compared to the general HCV-infected population of the same area. Hemodialysis treatment exposure time and healthcare working were associated with HCV infection. Conclusions: Besides the efforts to minimize nosocomial transmission of HCV, some events of transmission are still evidenced in dialysis units.

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