The highest prevalence rates of hepatitis C virus infection in the world have been recently reported among Egyptian blood donors and frequent recipients of transfusions and other blood products. This is the first report, however, demonstrating hepatitis C as the most frequent association with chronic liver disease in Egypt. Of 1023 patients referred to the Liver Institute in Menoufia governorate for evaluation of chronic liver disease, 752 (73.5%) had antibodies to hepatitis C compared with 168 (16.4%) with hepatitis B surface antigen. Hepatitis C antibody was more common in patients with active schistosomiasis and patients without hepatitis B surface antigenaemia. Of 100 patients having liver biopsies, histological findings consistent with chronic viral hepatitis or its complications were found in 89 and antibody to hepatitis C was present in 75 (84.3%) of these patients with chronic hepatitis, active cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. These data pointing to the importance of hepatitis C as a cause of chronic liver disease in Egypt emphasise the necessity of studies delineating its routes of transmission in this country.
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