Rates of Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Cataract Patients in a Specialist Health Facility in South-East Nigeria

Author(s): Arinze Anthony Onwuegbuna, Miriam-Benigna Chika Amobi, Emeka Akujuobi Chianakwalam, Chuka Michael Okosa, Akunne Ijeoma Apakama, Chisom God’swill Chigbo, George Uchenna Eleje

Background: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection remains a serious health issue globally. Adequate attention has not been given to this viral infection which causes grave morbidity and mortality. To the best of our knowledge, there is no prior study in Nigeria on HCV among cataract patients. HCV infections could be pronounced when the immunity is depleted, and this could happen in the presence of co-existing cataract.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of HCV among cataract surgery patients in South East, Nigeria.

Methods: A hospital-based retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted among 423 consecutively selected cataract surgery cases from September 2020 to March 2021. A structured proforma was used to collect sociodemographic and associated factors data. Rapid chromatography immunoassay for qualitative detection HCV antibodies was the screening technique used in the study. Data were entered and analyzed using STATA version 16. Descriptive statistics were used to compute prevalence of HCV infection among cataract surgery patients. Pearson Chi-square or Fisher’s exact test were used to compute possible association between associated factors and HCV infection. Variables with P< 0.05 were considered to be statistically significant.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 68.85±12.75 years with male female ratio of 1:1. Among 423 cataract surgery cases, prevalence of HCV infection was 1.18% (5/423). Prevalence of HCV among cataract patients was not affected by gender (p=0.626), age (p=0.815), location of settlements (p=0.822) and months of presentation (p=0.658).

Conclusion: Prevalence of HCV infection among cataract surgery patients was high and is not affected by socio-demograph

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