Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of liver disease worldwide and causes substantial morbidity and mortality. The common absence of symptoms associated leads to uncertainty to the geographic distribution of this disease. In the absence of a vaccine and effective treatment, prevention is extremely important, especially for at risk groups. The hepatitis C infection rate was surveyed throughout an eleven-year period by sex and age group in Aveiro District. In this retrospective study, blood samples from patients of Aveiro District, in ambulatory regime, collected at the Clinical Analysis Laboratory Avelab between 2002 and 2012 were screened for the presence of antibodies against HCV antigen using a chemiluminescence immunoassay. Approximately 4% of the patients presented positive anti-HCV antibodies. The HCV infection was age-dependent and varied between sexes (p < 0.05). The number of infected patients decreased during the study period (p < 0.05). The results presented in this study indicated that middle-aged males are more affected than women which may indicate that this group is more prone to risky behaviors. Moreover, the decrease in positive cases during study period may indicate a decrease in exposure to risk factors.
Hepatitis C, Infection, Surveillance study.
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