A cohort study of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in an HCV epidemic area of Japan: age and sex-related seroprevalence of anti-HCV antibody, frequency of viremia, biochemical abnormality and histological changes


Haruhide Shinzawa, Second Department of Internal Medicine, Yamagata University School of Medicine, PN 990-9585, 2-2-2 lida Nishi Yamagata City, Japan


Abstract: We studied the age-and sex-specific prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and aminotransferase abnormalities as well as histological changes in the liver associated with HCV infection. Of the eligible 3,707 inhabitants aged 6 years and older in an HCV infection epidemic area 2,382 (64.3%) were examined. The anti-HCV positivity rate was 20.7% on average and increased according to age. Age was the most potential risk indicator for anti-HCV positivity by multiple stepwise regression analysis. The HCV RNA positivity rate in females with anti-HCV was significantly lower than that in males. However, as the age of females increased, the HCV RNA positivity rate became higher. The proportion of subjects with aminotransferase abnormalities among HCV RNA-positive subjects was significantly lower in females than males. Aminotransferase abnormalities significantly increased with age in females. In subjects with abnormal aminotransferase levels, nearly half of the HCV RNA-positive females were aged 50 or older and also nearly half of the male subjects showed CAH2B or liver cirrhosis, while most of the HCV RNA-positive females younger than 50 exhibited histological findings consistent with CPH. In conclusion, age was the principal risk indicator for HCV infection in this area. Females, especially those younger than 50, both biochemically and histologically showed less severity of HCV infection than males. Gender and age might have effects on the outcome of HCV related liver disease.