Introduction In the United States, 2.7 to 3.9 million patients are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) with 3,500 new cases reported yearly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HCV was the underlying or contributing cause of death of 19,659 patients in 2014. These facts underscore the need for a better understanding of the scope of this disease. Our epidemiologic study aimed at analyzing the pattern of occurrence of HCV infection at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) by evaluating the characteristics of newly infected patients with hepatitis C in 2014. The identified features served to better distinguish the targets for preventive health care in our particular population. Methodology A cross-sectional study of all newly diagnosed patients with HCV infections in the year 2014 presenting to SIUH was conducted using International Classification of Disease-9 codes (ICD-9) for hepatitis C. We included all patients with a positive HCV antibody confirmed by polymerase chain reaction testing. Patients were divided into groups according to age to simulate the age groups in the 2013 - 2014 Hepatitis B and C Annual Report of the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene published in 2016 (abbreviated to 2014 NYCDOH Report, hereafter). Gender and HCV genotypes were also collected. We compared disease frequency between age groups, gender, and genotype with the results of the 2014 NYCDOH Report. Results A total of 378 newly diagnosed HCV cases were identified; 60.05% were men, and 39.95% were women. The rate of infection with genotype 1a was the highest (36. 5%) followed by 1b (25.9%). In women, genotype 1b was predominant (13.76%) versus genotype 1a as the most common in men. The mean age was 54 years for men and 57 years for women. Most cases fell into the 60 to 69-year age group (32.28%), followed by the 50 to 59-year age group (31.48%). More so, all patients 80 years and older were exclusively women. Conclusions We found most new HCV infections at SIUH were diagnosed in patients aged 60 to 69 years, and the 2014 NYC DOH Report indicates most new HCV infections occur in patients aged 40 to 59 years. Also, all HCV infections detected in patients older than 80 years of age were found in women. These findings provide a better understanding of the patient demographics for appropriate HCV screening policies. Increased awareness and strict adherence to screening policies in baby boomers and high-risk populations are paramount in order to diagnose HCV infection early, offer therapy, and prevent HCV-related mortality and morbidity.
Faculty; Northwell Researcher; Northwell Resident
School of Medicine; Northwell Health