Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Hepatitis C Infection in Malaysia: A Narrative Review
- epidemiology, hepatitis C, infection, Malaysia, risk factor
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Hepatitis C infection is a growing public health issue in Malaysia. A large number of people living with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are unaware of the infection. The treatment complexity warrants a comprehensive understanding of this infectious disease to support planning for strategies to reduce the burden of disease associated with hepatitis C. This study aimed to summarise the epidemiology and risk factors attributable to hepatitis C acquisition in Malaysia based on local published articles. Published articles related to epidemiology and risk factors for hepatitis C infection in Malaysia between 2005 and 2017 were searched through several online databases. Related information from the Ministry of Health official website was also compiled. An increasing trend in the incidence and mortality rate of hepatitis C infection is noted over the last decades. In 2009, the national prevalence of people infected with HCV was approximately 2.5%, with the prevalence rate varying according to different high-risk groups. The most common genotypes reported are genotypes 3 and 1. Frequently reported risk factor for HCV acquisition is injection drug use. Other identified risk factors are being a blood product recipient, haemodialysis patient or participant in high-risk sexual activity. Nevertheless, a considerable number of patients had no known risk factors. The prevalence and burden of HCV-related disease are substantial and can be attributed to many factors. High-quality design studies are needed to provide stronger evidence of the risk factors for hepatitis C infection in local populations for future public health planning.
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