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Panminerva Medica 2001 June;43(2):119-21

language: English

HCV positivity at postmortem among 793 heroin addicts examined in Piedmont (Italy)

Siragusa R., Passarino G. *, Mollo F. *, Tappero P.

From the Department of Anatomy, Pharmacology and Forensic Medicine Section of Forensic Medicine
*Department of Biomedical Sciences and Human Oncology Section of Anatomopathology University of Turin, Turin, Italy


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Background. During a wider study in progress at the Turin University with the cooperation of the Departments of Anatomy, Pharmacology and Forensic Medicine, and of Biomedical Sciences and Human Oncology, anti-HCV antibodies were determined in the blood of drug-addicts submitted to judicial autopsy.
Methods. This investigation was carried out on blood samples taken at postmortem from 793 subjects submitted to judicial autopsy in Piedmont from 1977 to 1996. This is a retrospective investigation and these cases represented 93.9% of the total autopsies, and 98.6% of them came from Turin and province.
Results. The percentage of subjects for whom the search for anti-HCV antibodies proved positive was 75.8% (74.5% among males, and 86.5% among females). These data remained relatively unchanged through the years, with a range 64.3% to 85.3%. They are close to those recorded in the international literature with regard to living subjects admitted to public health institutions for the prevention and treatment of drug addiction.
Conclusions. As the positivity related to age, lower values were found among the 15-20-year olds as compared to the older ones: 57.1% among the former, and 85.5% among the latter. This difference may be due to a longer period of drug addiction among subjects deceased at an older age, with a more prolonged risk of infection.

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