Hepatitis C Virus Risk Differs Among Hispanic Groups

FEBRUARY 19, 2014
The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) varies significantly among different subtypes of Hispanics in the United States, a new study finds.

HCV rates among Hispanics have been reported to be similar to those of white Americans. However, these reports only distinguish rates for Mexican Americans and do not consider potential differences in prevalence among other groups of Hispanics who are grouped into the same category. To quantify these risk differences, the study, published online on January 13, 2014, in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, evaluated Hispanic participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2010 and in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), conducted from 2008 through 2011.

Hispanic participants in the NHANES study were 63% Mexican, while the HCHS/SOL was more mixed, with Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Central American, and South American participants. Overall, the prevalence of HCV antibodies was similar among the 2 study groups: 1.5% in NHANES and 2% in HCHS/SOL. However, HCV risk varied significantly between specific ethnicities. Only 0.4% of men from South America were infected with HCV compared with 11.6% of Puerto Rican men.

“These findings suggest that the HCV epidemic among US Hispanics/ Latinos is heterogeneous,” the authors of the study suggest.

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