Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is an important public health concern. Worldwide, 130 million persons (prevalence of 2-2.2%) are estimated to be infected. The primary diseases associated with HCV are chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and cellular hepatocarcinoma [1–3].
The actual prevalence of HCV is difficult to assess because serological tests do not discriminate among acute, chronic, or resolved infection, and the analyzed groups in most countries are not representative of the general population, such as blood donors, drug users, or individuals with high-risk sexual practices [3, 4].
HCV prevalence in Mexico has been analyzed in several studies, reporting an average of 1.4% in the open population and 35% in patients with active hepatitis . Because HCV is relatively variable, it is currently grouped in six genotypes and several subtypes. In Mexico, the prevalence of genotype 1 ranges from 30 to 87.5%, with a predominance of subtypes 1b and 1a. Genotypes 2 and 3 are less frequent and genotypes 4-6 are unusual in Mexican subjects .
In Mexico, cirrhosis has shown an increasing tendency, rising from 12,058 cases in 2005 to 12,996 cases in 2006. In addition, cirrhosis is the second cause of death in the 15- to 64-year-old age group, being three times higher in men than in women. Puebla is the Mexican state with the highest mortality due to hepatic cirrhosis . Therefore, it is imperative to obtain epidemiological data on the asymptomatic people, which may contribute to know, in part, the possible causes of the high incidence of hepatic diseases in this region.
The aim of this study was to know the epidemiological profile of relatively recent infected HCV individuals, detected as asymptomatic carriers and who were identified as blood donors in the State of Puebla, Mexico.