The seroprevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among 559,890 first-time volunteer blood donors in China reflects regional heterogeneity in HCV prevalence and changes in blood donor recruitment models.
Fu Y., Xia W., Wang Y., Tian L., Pybus OG., Lu L., Nelson K.
BACKGROUND: A decrease in the prevalence of hepatitis C virus antibody (anti-HCV) has been reported among voluntary blood donors in some regions of China. However, the prevalence of HCV among volunteer blood donors in other regions of China has not been reported. The aim of this study was to investigate the seroprevalence of HCV among 559,890 first-time volunteer blood donors recruited during 2004 through 2007 at the Guangzhou Blood Center, China. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Anti-HCV was detected using two different third-generation enzyme immunoassay kits. HCV RNA was detected using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) targeting the 5'-untranslated region of HCV. RESULTS: Among 559,890 donors, 1877 (0.335%) were positive for anti-HCV. The anti-HCV+ rate was significantly higher in males than females (0.37% vs. 0.28%; p < 0.001) and significantly lower among donors living in Guangdong Province than donors who had migrated from other locations (0.30% vs. 0.40%; p < 0.001). Among the 1877 anti-HCV+ donors, 450 were randomly selected for HCV nucleic acid amplification by RT-PCR. Of these, 270 (60%) were HCV RNA+ and 180 (40%) were HCV RNA-. CONCLUSIONS: Many donors from outside Guangdong Province were migrant laborers from other areas in China, suggesting that there is regional heterogenicity in HCV prevalence within China. The overall anti-HCV+ rate reported here is among the lowest reported among blood donors in China reflecting the effect of the current recruitment of exclusively volunteer donors.