UAE nationals, and blood donors in particular, have the region's lowest incidence of hepatitis C, according to a study conducted by the Department of Laboratories and Blood Transfusion services of the emirates' Health Ministry.
Gulf News daily reports that the 1-year study, which appeared in the December issue of Emirates Medical Journal, surveyed 3,588 people in the country from 73 nationalities who had donated blood. Roughly 60 people, or 1.67 percent, were found to be infected, with the least occurrence found in the 759 UAE nationals tested.
The survey tested people between the ages of 18-65 and found that the highest infection rate among those between 36-45. Only 60 people from the original sample of different Arab national groups tested positive for the infection, with UAE nationals showing a rate bellow the international level of 1.02 percent. Hepatitis C among Asian nationals exceeded 2 percent. Additionally, the results showed that the 36-45 age group is the most susceptible to the virus. Men comprised the overwhelming majority of cases at 95 percent. Furthermore, the occurrence rate among regular blood donors is zero percent due to the continual blood screen tests implemented after 1992. Recommendations from this study include: focusing on younger and more constant blood donors to ensure safe blood donations, continuing to regularly administer blood tests especially to new donors and prior to marriages, encouraging more women to donate blood, and increasing the awareness and education of infectious diseases and how they are transferred.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )