To determine the prevalence and routes of transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Hafizabad, Pakistan, we collected sera in 1993 from a geographically based random sample of residents, and in 1994 identified 15 HCV-infected individuals (cases) and 67 age and sex matched uninfected individuals (controls). Initially we approached 504 households, and collected serum from a randomly selected household member in 309 (64%). Twenty persons (6·5%) had anti-HCV antibody; 31% percent had hepatitis B core antibodies, and 4·3% had hepatitis B surface antigen. In the case-control study, persons who received more therapeutic injections (categorized as averaging 1, 2–4, 5–9 or >10 injections per year in the previous 10 years) were more likely to be infected with HCV (odds ratio 0, 1·5, 2·5 and 6·9 respectively, P=0·008) compared to persons averaging 0 injections per year. Efforts to limit therapeutic injections to only those that are medically indicated and that use sterile equipment are essential in order to prevent transmission of HCV.
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