Hepatitis C virus infection among pregnant women in Yaounde, Cameroon: prevalence, viremia, and genotypes.

Research paper by Richard R Njouom, Christophe C Pasquier, Ahidjo A Ayouba, Karine K Sandres-Sauné, Jermie J Mfoupouendoun, Marcel M Mony Lobe, Gilbert G Tene, Jocelyn J Thonnon, Jacques J Izopet, Eric E Nerrienet

Indexed on: 15 Jan '03Published on: 15 Jan '03Published in: Journal of Medical Virology


Central Africa is considered to be an area of high endemic hepatitis C infection. To determine the prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies, HCV RNA, and the genotype distribution in Cameroon, 1,494 pregnant women attending antenatal care units in Yaounde, Cameroon were screened for HCV infection. Anti-HCV antibodies were detected with a 3rd generation ELISA (Monolisa anti-HCV plus version 2, BioRad, Richmond, CA). All anti-HCV antibody-positive sera were then tested with another 3rd generation ELISA (AxSYM) HCV version 3, Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL) and subsequently for HCV RNA (Amplicor HCV, Roche Diagnostics, Basel, Switzerland). Genotype was determined by phylogenetic analysis of the NS5b gene. Seventy-three pregnant women were found to be anti-HCV antibody positive by the first ELISA, but only 28 were anti-HCV positive by both ELISA. The prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies was thus 1.9% (28/1,494) (95% CI: 1.3-2.7%). 21/28 (75%) of the positive samples by both ELISA were HCV RNA positive. The 45 samples that were HCV antibody negative by the second ELISA were also HCV RNA negative. The HCV subtypes identified were 1a (24%), 2f (38%) and 4f (38%). In contrast to previous studies, anti-HCV antibodies were rare among pregnant women in Cameroon. The percentage of HCV seropositive pregnant women who had circulating HCV RNA was similar to that observed in Europe. Several HCV genotypes were found in Cameroon.