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Preliminary programme of routine HCV testing among pregnant women

The number of HCV infections in Poland is estimated at 0.6% and increases among women in child-bearing age. The risk of vertical transmission of these infections from mother to child is relatively high during pregnancy. It is considered that vertical transmission of HCV is the most frequent reason of the child infection. The detection of the HCV infections in pregnant women creates the possibility to take measures aimed at the early detection of possible newborn infection and provide for them specialized care.

In the “Preliminary programme of routine HCV testing among pregnant women“ 8000 pregnant women from the following voivodships:  Kujawsko–Pomorskie, Lubelskie, Małopolskie, Mazowieckie and Świętokrzyskie will be examined for HCV infection. Women will be recruited in the first trimester of pregnancy conducted at Project Implementation Units. All patients who agreed to participate in examinations, will be screened for the presence of anti-HCV antibodies. In samples from women with a reactive (positive) screening test will be performed PCR for genetic material of HCV (HCV-RNA). The performance of both tests will allow to estimate the frequency of the prevalence of HCV infections in the women investigated and to assure specialized care for mothers and their children.

The realization of the Project will favour the implementation of the routine screening tests for HCV infections offered to pregnant women. At the same time, it will secure the early care over the infant of the HCV infected mother in the context of a diagnosis/exclusion of the infection in the infant. Early detection of the HCV infection significantly increases the chance to treat it effectively and at the same time to avoid unfavorable clinical consequences, such as cirrhosis or the hepatocellular carcinoma. This is extremely important public health context. The undertaking of activities in this direction will allow to withhold the increasing epidemiological problem of HCV infection in Poland.

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