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: 2.22). 04/2010; 82(4):562-7. DOI: 10.1002/jmv.21724
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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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