Background: HCV transmission is mainly due to parenteral exposure; however in absence of such risk factor there are reports of intrafamilial spread of HCV and observational studies suggest an increased risk for households of infected subjects. The aim of our study was to systematically review and meta-analyse studies about HCV prevalence among households of HCV patients in Italy.
Methods: PubMed and Embase were searched to identify Italian studies about HCV intrafamilial transmission. Used keywords were: “HCV”, “Hepatitis C”, “intrafamilial”, “family”, and “Italy”. Selected studies were reviewed to assess the quality and meta-analysed using StatsDirect software.
Results: Twenty five studies were selected. The pooled overall prevalence was 9% (95%CI: 7.1%- 11.1%). The highest pooled prevalence was found among sexual partners of index cases: it was 14.7% (95%CI: 10.7%-19.2%) globally and 9.9% (95%CI: 3.6%-18.8%) and 17.6% (95%CI: 12.1%-24%) respectively in northern and central-southern regions. High quality studies meta-analysis yielded the lowest HCV prevalence.
Conclusion: To be a household of a HCV patient is a risk factor for HCV. Counselling to households of HCV patients should be thus provided.
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