Kirpal Das Makheja, Ali Hassan Abro, Susheel Kumar.
Sero-prevalence of hepatitis C antibodies in the people visiting roadside barbers.
Pak J Med Sci May ;26(2):402-6.

Objective: Sharing of blades and shaving kits, especially unsterilized ones are known risk factors for the transmission of Hepatitis C. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of Hepatitis C antibodies reactivity among the patients admitted due to any medical condition and who have been visiting roadside barbers. Methodology: This was a descriptive study conducted from July 2007 to June 2008 in the Medical Unit-111, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, Karachi. The study was designed to include patient’s demographics (age, occupation, marital status and education), clinical information and duration of the visits to roadside barbers with an approximate frequency of shavings per month. The patients with history of > 3 visits to a roadside barber during the last six months were included in the study. Whereas, the patients with history of liver disease, blood transfusion, surgery, dental treatment, tattoo marks, intravenous drug use, on regular injectable medicine (like insulin, etc), multiple sexual partners and on haemodialysis were excluded from the study. A blood sample was collected at the time of admission and the screening for HCV-antibodies was done by Enzyme Linked Immuno-Sorbant Assay (ELISA). Results: A total of 184 male patients were included in the study. The mean age + SD of the patients under the study was 33.8+13.2 years. The majority of study patients were uneducated and belonged to low socioeconomic group. Out of 184 patients, 70(38%) were found to be HCV-antibodies reactive. In comparison to younger patients (age <40 years), the older patients as well as those with history of longer duration of visits to roadside barbers had high prevalence of HCV-antibodies reactivity, P.015 and P.02 respectively. There was no statistical significant difference for the prevalence of HCV- antibodies reactivity among the different socioeconomic groups, educational level and marital status. Conclusion: In the present study, it is concluded that the sharing of unsterilized shaving kits and used blades by roadside barbers are the main sources for the transmission of HCV. The transmission rate of HCV infection increases with the duration and multiple exposures for shaving.

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