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30 March 2009

Changes in hepatitis C virus infection routes and genotype distribution in a Lithuanian cohort with chronic hepatitis C

Valentina LiakinaCEF, Danute SpeicieneAB, Algimantas IrniusA, Jonas ValantinasEG

Med Sci Monit 2009; 15(4): PH17-23 :: ID: 869600

Abstract

Background
We evaluated the distribution of hepatitis C virus genotypes and determined their association with routes of infection according to the sex and age of the study subjects.
Material and Method
We studied 1158 patients with chronic hepatitis C. Hepatitis C virus antibodies were detected with a microparticle enzyme immunoassay, hepatitis C virus ribonucleic acid was identified via polymerase chain reaction, and hepatitis C virus genotypes were determined with a line probe assay. An anonymous questionnaire completed by all subjects included the date of chronic hepatitis C diagnosis, the age and sex of the patient, the hepatitis C virus genotype and subtype, and possible routes of infection.
Results
Of the patients studied, 50.9% had more than 1 possible route of infection, 41.2% had a single route of infection, and 7.9% had an unknown route of infection. The most common hepatitis C transmission routes were intravenous drug use and tattoos in younger patients and surgery or long or multiple hospitalizations in older patients. The genotype distribution was as follows: genotype 1, 65.0% of patients; genotype 2, 26.3%; and genotype 3, 8.7%. The transmission of genotype 1 was associated primarily with surgery and that of genotype 3 was linked with intravenous drug use.
Conclusions
Today, the main routes of hepatitis C virus transmission are intravenous drug use and tattoos. Some hepatitis C infections are associated with surgery or are acquired from a family member. The shift in transmission pathways predetermined the shift in hepatitis C virus genotypes from 1 to 3.

Keywords: Tattooing - adverse effects, Substance Abuse, Intravenous - complications, Risk Factors, Lithuania - epidemiology, Hepatitis C, Chronic - virology, Hospitalization, Hepacivirus - genetics, Genotype, Cohort Studies, Aged, 80 and over, Adolescent, young adult

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750