The role of blood transfusion on the prevalence of hepatitis c virus antibodies in children with Sickle Cell Anaemia in Enugu, south East Nigeria
Background: The hepatitis C Virus (HCV) has become an important cause of chronic liver disease and liver cancerworldwide. Blood transfusion is one of the importantmodes of transmission. There is need to study the prevalence among those at risk such as sickle cell anaemia (SCA) patients. Such information will broaden knowledge of the problemamong SCA patients transfusedwith blood in this part of the country. Objective: To determine the prevalence of HCV antibodies among children with SCA transfused with blood in Enugu, compared with their non transfused counterparts as well as the roles of blood transfusion and traditional surgery in the prevalence of HCV infection. Methodology: The study was conducted among 269 children with SCA attending the paediatrics sickle cell clinic at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu,with 136 transfused SCA patients as subjects and 133 age and sexmatched non-transfused SCA who served as controls.Results: The results showed an HCV antibody prevalence of 6.6% among the transfused and 5.3% among the non-transfused (controls) SCA patients (P=0.610). There was positive association between number of transfusions and HCV seropositiviy, such that thosewho had received 4 ormore units of blood had a prevalence
rate of more than 50% (P = 0.001). The influence of scarifications on the prevalence of antibodies to HCV (antiHCV) for the non transfused (controls)was statistically significant (P= 0.001). Conclusion: HCV infection is not uncommon in children with SCA. The prevalence of HCV infection in transfused SCA patients is not significantly higher than their age/sexmatched controls.
Keywords: Blood transfusion,HepatitisC, Sickle cell anaemia.