HEPATITIS C VIRUS;
DETECTION OF HEPATITIS C VIRUS RNA ALONG WITH ITS GENOTYPE IN THE SALIVA OF TREATMENT NAIVE HEPATITIS C VIRUS INFECTED PATIENTS.
Introduction: Being an infectious disease primarily acting on the liver, Hepatitis C is caused due the presence of Hepatitis C virus. In Pakistan, out of every 10 individuals, this virus infects one. According to the World Health Organization, Hepatitis C virus, worldwide, chronically infects 150 million individuals. Hepatitis C is commonly called as “Black Jaundice” in Pakistan. Although there are various risk factors involved with infection caused by Hepatitis C virus, but the most common factors are blood transfusion from unscreened donors, injections, drug abuse and unprotected sexual activity. There are contradictory reports, which depicts that the body fluids other than blood, like saliva and seminal fluid, might be potential sources of this infection. The current study aims to detect the presence of Hepatitis C virus Ribonucleic Acid in the saliva of confirmed infected male patients. At present there are a lot of genotypes of Hepatitis C virus have been reported worldwide but in our country genotype 3 and 2 are more common than the rest. That is why the objective of this study was not only to detect this virus in the saliva of known infected patients but also to determine their genotypes in positive secretions as well. Study Design: Descriptive cross sectional study. Setting: A clinic located in Lahore and The PCR LAB, Jail Road, Lahore, Pakistan. Period: 13 Months. Material and Methods: A sample size of 100 hepatitis C positive patients (statistically calculated), in which the anti-viral therapy was not started, were selected with regard to inclusion and exclusion criteria by non-probability, convenient sampling. Saliva (2 ml) was taken in a sterile container, to detect the occurrence of Hepatitis C virus by Reverse Transcriptase- Polymerase Chain Reaction and subsequent genotyping by multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction. Results: Out of 100 patients only 7% patients had virus in their saliva. Out of 100, the total saliva positive samples were 7 in number. The subsequent genotyping of the positive samples showed that out of 7 positive cases, 4 cases were of Genotype 2a, 2 cases were of genotype 3a, and only 1 case was of genotype 4. Conclusion: There was very less percentage of Hepatitis C virus Ribonucleic Acid found in the salivary secretions obtained from the patients. Moreover the patients who had positive secretions were mostly of genotype 2a whereas genotype 3a is known to be most significantly present among the population of Pakistan. This study may lead to better planning and management in the transmission of the disease, control and its spread.