A nationwide seroepidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection in South Korea
Do Young Kim ; In Hee Kim ; Moran Ki ; Hwa Young Choi ; Dae Hee Choi ; Hee Bok Chae ; Jun Lee ; Man Woo Kim ; Byung-Cheol Song ; Dong Joon Kim ; Jeong Heo ; Eun-Young Cho ; Sung-Kyu Choi0 ; Woo Jin Chung ; Sun Jae Lee ; Won Young Tak ; Soon Koo Baik ; Heon Ju Lee ; Hyung Joon Yim ; Byung Seok Lee ; Youn Jae Lee ; Kyung-Ah Kim ; Young Seok Kim0 ; Young Kul Jung ; Ha Yan Kang ; Neung Hwa Park ; Kwang-Hyub Han ; Dong Jin Suh ; Don Lee ; Young-Joo Jin ; Joon Hyoek Lee ; Yong Kyun Cho ; Sook-Hyang Jeong
Liver International, Vol.33(4) : 586~594, 2013
BACKGROUND & AIMS:
The aim of this study was to reveal nationwide seroprevalence of HCV infection in South Korea by a large-scale survey.
From January to December 2009, a total of 291 314 adults underwent health check-up in 29 centres nationwide. The data concerning anti-HCV antibody and biochemical tests were obtained from all participants. Among subjects with positive anti-HCV, such data as HCV RNA, genotypes and treatment detail were additionally analysed.
Using an estimated 2009 population of Korea, the age, sex and area-adjusted anti-HCV positive rate was 0.78%. Anti-HCV prevalence in female patients (0.83%) was higher than that in male patients (0.75%). Gradual increase in anti-HCV positivity was observed, from 0.34% in those aged 20-29 years to 2.31% in those >70 years. The age- and sex-adjusted anti-HCV prevalence varied in different areas, being higher in Busan and Jeonnam (1.53-2.07%), mid-level in Seoul and surrounding districts (0.50-0.61%) and lower in Jeju (0.23%). The comparative analysis of laboratory variables between anti-HCV (+) and anti-HCV (-) group revealed significantly higher levels of alanine aminotransferase and lower levels of serum lipids in anti-HCV (+) group. Among 1 718 anti-HCV positive subjects, serum HCV RNA was measured only in 478 people, of whom 268 (56.1%) patients had detectable HCV RNA in serum. Among 50 patients for whom assessment of response to antiviral therapy was feasible, overall sustained virological response was achieved in 84% of patients.
The prevalence of HCV infection is low in South Korea. Studies to analyse risk factors are warranted to reduce HCV infection.