Hepatitis C in Lithuania: incidence, prevalence, risk factors and viral genotypes

Arvydas Ambrozaitis, Kestutis Zagminas, Gina Balciunaite, Anders Widell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The epidemiology of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been studied in many countries. However, little is known about HCV infection in Lithuania, a Baltic country, that was part of the former Soviet Union. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to determine and evaluate the etiology of acute viral hepatitis, the risk factors for acquiring HCV in comparison to hepatitis B virus (HBV), seroprevalence of anti-HCV among blood donors and risk groups of the population in Lithuania. The distribution of HCV genotypes from Lithuanian first-time blood donors was also assessed. STUDY DESIGN: Sera taken from clinical viral hepatitis patients, blood donors, risk groups of population were investigated serologically. Patients with acute viral hepatitis were interviewed to determine their risk factors for HCV and HBV. HCV genotyping was done by PCR using type specific primers. RESULTS: Acute hepatitis C accounted for 5.0-8.5% of reported viral hepatitis cases in adults in Vilnius. Of the acute hepatitis C cases, 37.0% was associated with blood transfusions before the implementation of screening of blood donors for anti-HCV and only 15.4% (2/13) after the screening was started. Anti-HCV was found in 2.2% of first-time blood donors, in 7.9% of commercial blood donors, in 13.9% of commercial blood plasma donors, in 48.3% of hemodialysis patients, in 29.4% of prisoners, in 9.4% of elderly nursing home residents, and in 7.9% of hemodialysis staff. The following distribution in genotypes were found: genotype 1b (54.3%), 3a (23.9%), 2a (10.9%) 2b (4.3%), 1a (0%), and double infection (6.5%). CONCLUSIONS: Lithuania is a country with a considerable hepatitis C problem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-284
JournalClinical and Diagnostic Virology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1995

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Microbiology in the medical area

Free keywords

  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection
  • Antibody against hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV)
  • Hepatitis C virus genotype


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