Hepatitis-C prevalence in an urban native-American clinic: A prospective screening study

Amy S. Neumeister, La Vada E. Pilcher, Judi M. Erickson, Lora L. Langley, Mary M. Murphy, Nicole M. Haukaas, Mark E. Mailliard, Jennifer L. Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Native-American populations are disproportionately burdened by chronic liver disease, and the prevalence of hepatitis C (HCV) in native Americans is unknown. Purpose: To determine the prevalence of hepatitis C in a local native-American population via a prospective screening study. Procedures: Two-hundred-forty-three native Americans (161 females/82 males) using an urban clinic and representing >30 tribes from across the United States were screened. Mean age was 41 ± 1 years. Hepatitis-C screening was by anti-HCV with confirmation by HCV RNA. A questionnaire assessed potential risk factors for HCV. Findings: Anti-HCV antibodies were found in 11.5% (95% CI: 7.5-15.5%). HCV RNA was present by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 8.6% (95% CI: 5.1-12.1%) and was more common in males [13.4% (95% CI: 6.0-20.8%)] than females [6.2% (95% CI: 2.5-9.9%)]. The most common potential risk factors for chronic HCV infection were intravenous (IV) drug or cocaine use (p<0.0001), tattoos >5 years old (p<0.0001) and having a sexual partner with HCV (p=0.0063). Conclusion: HCV prevalence is higher in an urban native-American clinic population than reported in the general U.S. population. Use of IV drugs is the most prevalent risk factor, but tattoos and sexual transmission may also be important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-392
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Hepatitis
  • Native Americans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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