Objective: This study estimated the seroprevalence of hepatitis C virus in a public-sector psychiatric hospital. Method: Patients admitted between Jan. 1, 1998, and Dec. 30, 2000, were routinely screened for hepatitis C virus antibody on admission. Results: A total of 133 (8.5%) of 1,556 patients admitted were positive for the hepatitis C virus. Aminotransferase levels were elevated but rarely abnormal among patients positive for the hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis B surface antibody was found in 27.8% of the patients positive for the hepatitis C virus. These patients were more likely to receive a diagnosis of psychoactive substance use disorder but no other psychiatric diagnoses. Conclusions: The prevalence of hepatitis C virus is high among psychiatric patients in the public sector. Much needs to be learned about the role of universal screening and effective techniques for primary prevention and antiviral treatment in this population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health