Seroprevalence of hepatitis C virus antibody in transfused children at Kenyatta National Hospital
Objective. To determine the seroprevalence of HCV antibody in children with history of exposure to blood/blood products at KNH. Study design. A cross sectional survey was carried out in an attempt to describe the prevalence of HCV antibody in children with history of exposure to blood/blood products at KNH. Setting. The general paediatric wards, paediatric oncology ward, haematology clinic, paediatric filter clinic and paediatric outpatient clinics of KNH. Study period. June 2001 to August 2001 Study subjects. A total of 90 children were identified from the various study areas within Kenyatta national hospital as follows, 10 cases (11%) from hematology clinic, 22 cases (24%) from paediatric oncology ward, 57 cases (63%) from the general paediatric wards and 1 case (1%) from paediatric filter clinic. The youngest child was 2 years 1 month old while the oldest child was 12 years old, the median age was six and half years. Blood samples were taken from the 90 children for screening for HCV antibody using second generation ELISA method. Results. Among the 90 children tested for HCV antibody, 25 children (27.8%) tested positive for anti-HCV. There was no significant sex difference in the number of study cases who tested positive for HCV antibody. We did not demonstrate an increasing trend in HCV positivity with an increase in the number of exposures to blood/blood products. Children with history of exposure to blood products (FFP, Platelet concentrates) did not have an increased risk of testing positive for HCV antibody than those exposed to whole blood/packed cells. Conclusions. The prevalence of HCV antibody in children with history of exposure to blood/blood products at KNH was 27.8% (95% C.I= 18.5 - 37.0).