The study sought to estimate the seroprevalence of hepatitis C virus in a psychiatric department of a general hospital and to better understand the risk behaviours of these patients. All patients admitted between 1/9/2003 and 29/2/2004 were routinely screened for hepatitis C virus antibody on admission. The patients also answered questions regarding their risk behaviours. A total of 5 (2,5%) of 211 patients admitted were positive for hepatitis C virus. These patients were more likely to receive a diagnosis of Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders and Bipolar Disorder, but no other psychiatric diagnoses. These patients were also found to be injection drug users and patients with high-risk sexual behaviour. The prevalence of hepatitis C virus among psychiatric patients in the psychiatric clinic of general hospitals is high comparably with general population of the same region. Given this high prevalence a strong argument can be made that all such persons should be screened for the HCV.

Key words: hepatitis C, psychiatric patients, psychiatric clinic, risk behaviours.

N. Bilanakis, G. Apostolou (page 43) - Full article (Greek)