Analysis of hepatitis C virus strains circulating in Republic of the Congo

Viral Emergence and Co-evolution Department, UMR 6578, CNRS, University of the Mediterranean, EFS Alpes-Méditerranée, Marseille, France.
Journal of Medical Virology (Impact Factor: 2.35). 04/2010; 82(4):562-7. DOI: 10.1002/jmv.21724
Source: PubMed


The aim of this study was to assess the seroprevalence, viremia, genotype distribution, and demographic history of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the Republic of the Congo. Testing was carried out on sera samples collected in 2005 from 807 Bantus belonging to the Kongo, Teke, and Ngala subgroups and 80 Pygmies. Positive HCV serology was found in 50 (5.6%) individuals including 31 (60%) who were viremic. Seroprevalence increased with age with a cutoff at 50 years: 2.8% <50 versus 12% >50. Twenty-one strains belonged to four described subtypes, that is, 4c in eight cases, 4h in two, 4k in three, and 4r in eight. Ten strains could not be assigned to any known subtype and may represent six new variants, that is, subtype 4 in five cases and subtype 2 in one. Evolutionary analysis of subtype 4c and 4r sequences indicated a period of enhanced transmission in the mid-twentieth century probably due to iatrogenic causes. This study underlines the high genetic diversity of strains in the Republic of the Congo with nine subtypes 4 and one subtype 2.

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    • "Despite the large size of our survey, sampling was limited to males and therefore our prevalence estimates may not equal those of the general population. Cantaloube et al. (2010) found that men were 43% more likely to be seropositive than women in the Republic of the Congo, and it is possible that a similar pattern is true in the DRC. We confirmed that HCV positivity is significantly associated with older age in our study population (Fig. 2; Iles et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: HCV genotype 4 is prevalent in many African countries, yet little is known about the genotype׳s epidemic history on the continent. We present a comprehensive study of the molecular epidemiology of genotype 4. To address the deficit of data from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) we PCR amplified 60 new HCV isolates from the DRC, resulting in 33 core- and 48 NS5B-region sequences. Our data, together with genotype 4 database sequences, were analysed using Bayesian phylogenetic approaches. We find three well-supported intra-genotypic lineages and estimate that the genotype 4 common ancestor existed around 1733 (1650–1805). We show that genotype 4 originated in central Africa and that multiple lineages have been exported to north Africa since ~1850, including subtype 4a which dominates the epidemic in Egypt. We speculate on the causes of the historical intra-continental spread of genotype 4, including population movements during World War 2.
    Virology 01/2015; 464-465(100). DOI:10.1016/j.virol.2014.07.006 · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    • "Similar age profiles have been identified in neighboring countries: in several locations in south and south-eastern Cameroon HCV seroprevalence rises rapidly with age, surpassing 50% in those aged 50 and older (Nerrienet et al., 2005; Pépin et al., 2010a). HCV seropositivity also increases with age among pregnant women in Gabon, although at much lower levels (<6%; Ndong-Atome et al., 2008), and among Bantu populations in the Republic of the Congo (Cantaloube et al., 2010). Since HCV infection is far more likely to reduce than to increase survival, these results suggest that rates of HCV transmission in such populations were higher in the past. "
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    ABSTRACT: The prevalence and genetic diversity of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human pegivirus (HPgV) in many regions of sub-Saharan Africa is poorly characterized, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo - the largest country in the region and one of the most populous. To address this situation we conducted a molecular epidemiological survey of HCV and HPgV (previously named GB Virus C or hepatitis G virus) in samples collected in 2007 from 299 males from the DRC, whose ages ranged from 21 to 71years old. Samples were tested for the presence of HCV antibodies by ELISA reactive samples were subsequently tested for HCV RNA using RT-PCR in which both the HCV Core and NS5B genome regions were amplified. Remaining samples were tested for HPgV RNA and the HPgV NS3 genome region of positive samples was amplified. For HCV, 13.7% of the samples were seropositive (41/299) but only 3.7% were viremic (11/299). HPgV RNA was found in 12.7% (33/259) of samples. HCV viremia was strongly associated with age; the percentage of samples that contained detectable HCV RNA was ∼0.5% in those younger than 50 and 13% in those older than 50. Our study represents the first systematic survey of HCV genetic diversity in the DRC. HCV sequences obtained belonged to diverse lineages of genotype 4, including subtypes 4c, 4k, 4l and 4r, plus one unclassified lineage that may constitute a new subtype. These data suggest that HCV in the DRC exhibits an age 'cohort effect', as has been recently reported in neighbouring countries, and are consistent with the hypothesis that HCV transmission rates were higher in the mid-twentieth century, possibly as a result of parenteral, iatrogenic, or other unidentified factors. Different HCV subtypes were associated with individuals of different ages, implying that HCV infection in the DRC may have arisen through multiple separate HCV epidemics with different causes.
    Infection, genetics and evolution: journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases 02/2013; 19. DOI:10.1016/j.meegid.2013.01.021 · 3.02 Impact Factor
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    • "Population descendants from Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola might have been frequent in Venezuela. Interestingly, G2 is less frequent than G4 in Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo [37], [38]. No information is available for Angola. "
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    ABSTRACT: The subtype diversity of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes is unknown in Venezuela. Partial sequencing of the NS5B region was performed in 310 isolates circulating in patients from 1995 to 2007. In the samples collected between 2005 and 2007, HCV genotype 1 (G1) was the most common genotype (63%), composed as expected of mainly G1a and G1b. G2 was the second most common genotype (33%), being G2a almost absent and G2j the most frequent subtype. Sequence analysis of the core region confirmed the subtype assignment performed within the NS5b region in 63 isolates. The complete genome sequence of G2j was obtained. G2j has been described in France, Canada and Burkina Fasso, but it was not found in Martinique, where several subtypes of G2 circulate in the general population. Bayesian coalescence analysis indicated a most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of G2j around 1785, before the introduction of G1b (1869) and G1a (1922). While HCV G1a and G1b experienced a growth reduction since 1990, coincident with the time when blood testing was implemented in Venezuela, HCV G2j did not seem to reach growth equilibrium during this period. Assuming the introduction of G2j from Africa during the slave trade, the high frequency of G2j found in Venezuela could suggest: 1- the introduction of African ethnic groups different from the ones introduced to Martinique or 2- the occurrence of a founder effect. This study represents an in-depth analysis of the subtype diversity of HCV in Venezuela, which is still unexplored in the Americas and deserves further studies.
    PLoS ONE 12/2010; 5(12):e14315. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0014315 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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