Reliability of risk-based screening for hepatitis C virus infection among pregnant women in Egypt

Samer S. El-Kamary*, Mohamed Hashem, Doa'a A. Saleh, Mohamed Ehab, Sahar A. Sharaf, Fatma El-Mougy, Lobna Abdelsalam, Ravi Jhaveri, Ahmed Aboulnasr, Hesham El-Ghazaly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only recommends risk-based HCV screening for pregnant women in the United States. This study sought to determine the reliability of risk-based versus universal HCV screening for pregnant women in Egypt, a country with the world's highest HCV prevalence that also relies on risk-based screening, and to identify additional characteristics that could increase the reliability of risk-based screening. Methods: Pregnant women attending the Cairo University antenatal clinic were tested for anti-HCV antibodies and RNA, and demographic characteristics and risk factors for infection were assessed. Results: All 1250 pregnant women approached agreed to participate (100%) with a mean age of 27.4±5.5 years (range:16-45). HCV antibodies and RNA were positive in 52 (4.2%) and 30 (2.4%) women respectively. After adjustment, only age (OR:1.08, 95%CI:1.002-1.16, p < 0.01), history of prior pregnancies (OR:1.20, 95%CI:1.01-1.43, p < 0.04), and working in the healthcare sector (OR:8.68, 95%CI:1.72-43.62, p < 0.01), remained significantly associated with chronic HCV infection. Conclusions: Universal antenatal HCV screening was widely accepted (100%) and traditional risk-based screening alone would have missed 3 (10%) chronically infected women, thereby supporting universal screening of pregnant women whenever possible. Otherwise, risk-based screening should be modified to include history of prior pregnancy and healthcare employment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)512-519
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infection
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Egypt
  • Hepatitis C
  • Mass screening
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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