Inadequate sterilization and reuse of medical equipment likely contributed to Hepatitis C virus transmission in the former Soviet Union.
Although New York leads the nation in the number of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, the epidemiology of Hepatitis C virus infection has not been evaluated in this population.
|Hep C virus seropositivity was 11% in immigrants from Russia|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
Dr Edmund Bini and colleagues from New York, USA determined the prevalence of and risk factors for Hepatitis C virus infection among immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the New York metropolitan area.
The team conducted a 3-day community-based Hepatitis C virus screening program in the 2 boroughs of the New York metropolitan area with the highest density of former Soviet Union immigrants.
Russian cable television was used to invite subjects to come in for free Hepatitis C virus testing.
In the last 2 days of screening, each person also completed an Hepatitis C virus risk factor questionnaire.
The researchers found that the overall prevalence of Hepatitis C virus seropositivity among the 283 subjects was 28%.
The prevalence of Hepatitis C virus infection was similar in men and women.
The team noted the highest prevalence of Hepatitis C virus infection, and was highest in subjects 70 year old occurred in 35%.
Hepatitis C virus seropositivity was 11% in immigrants from Russia, 29% from Uzbekistan, 31% from the Ukraine, and 37% from other regions.
Intramuscular injections, and blood transfusions were the only variables that were significantly associated with Hepatitis C virus infection in the multivariable analysis.
Dr Bini's team concluded, "In this community-based screening program we found a high prevalence of Hepatitis C virus infection among immigrants from the former Soviet Union."
"These infections resulted from inadequately sterilized medical equipment and blood transfusions."
"Universal Hepatitis C virus testing should be strongly considered for all former Soviet Union immigrants."