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Intrafamilial transmission of hepatitis C virus in Italy: a systematic review
  1. Chiara de Waure1,
  2. Consuelo Cefalo2,
  3. Giacomina Chiaradia1,
  4. Antonella Sferrazza1,
  5. Luca Miele2,
  6. Giovanni Gasbarrini2,
  7. Walter Ricciardi1,
  8. Antonio Grieco2,
  9. Giuseppe La Torre1,3
  1. 1Institute of Hygiene, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy
  2. 2Institute of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, School of Medicine “Agostino Gemelli”, Rome, Italy
  3. 3Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Giuseppe La Torre, Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Viale Regina Elena 324, Rome 00185, Italy; giuseppe.latorre{at}


Background Hepatitis C virus (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. Keywords used were: ‘HCV’, ‘Hepatitis C’, ‘intrafamilial’, ‘family’ and ‘Italy’. Selected studies were reviewed to assess the quality and meta-analysed using StatsDirect software.

Results 25 studies were selected. The pooled overall prevalence was 9% (95% CI 7.1% to 11.1%). The highest pooled prevalence was found among sexual partners of index cases: 14.7% (95% CI 10.7% to 19.2%) globally and 9.9% (95% CI 3.6% to 18.8%) and 17.6% (95% CI 12.1% to 24%) in northern and central-southern regions, respectively. The meta-analysis of high-quality studies yielded the lowest HCV prevalence.

Conclusion To be a HCV patient household is a risk factor for HCV and counselling for these households should be provided.

  • Hepatitis C
  • intrafamilial transmission
  • epidemiology
  • epidemiology FQ
  • hepatitis
  • meta analysis ME

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.