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Decreasing prevalence of Hepatitis B and absence of Hepatitis C Virus infection in the Warao indigenous population of Venezuela

by Ruth Y. Blanco, Carmen L. Loureiro, Julian A. Villalba, Yoneira F. Sulbarán, Mailis Maes, Jacobus H. de Waard, Héctor R. Rangel, Rossana C. Jaspe, Flor H. Pujol

Prevalence and molecular epidemiology studies for hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) virus are scarce in Warao Amerindians from Venezuela, where an epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) has recently been documented. To carry out a molecular epidemiology analysis of hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) virus in Warao individuals from the Delta Amacuro State of Venezuela. A total of 548 sera were tested for serological and molecular markers for HBV and HCV. The prevalence of active infection (presence of HBV surface antigen, HBsAg), exposure to HBV (presence of Antibody to HBV core antigen, anti-HBc) and anti-HCV, was 1.8%, 13% and 0% respectively. HBV exposure was significantly lower in men below 18 years old and also lower than rates previously reported in other Amerindian communities from Venezuela. Thirty one percent (31%, 25/80) of individuals without evidence of HBV infection exhibited anti-HBs titer ≥ 10U.I / ml, being significantly more frequent in individuals younger than 20 years. A higher HBV exposure was observed among HIV-1 positive individuals (33% vs 11%, p <0.005). A high prevalence of occult HBV infection was also observed (5.6%, 11/195). Phylogenetic analysis of S gene and complete HBV genomes showed that F3 is the only circulating subgenotype, different from the F2 subgenotype found in 1991 in this population. These results suggest a recent introduction of subgenotype F3, with a low divergence among the isolates. These results highlight the importance of molecular epidemiology studies for viral control, and support the effectiveness of vaccination in reducing transmission of HBV.

Authors:   Ruth Y. Blanco; Carmen L. Loureiro; Julian A. Villalba; Yoneira F. Sulbarán; Mailis Maes; Jacobus H. de Waard; Héctor R. Rangel; Rossana C. Jaspe; Flor H. Pujol
Journal:   PLoS ONE
Volume:   13
edition:   5
Year:   2018
Pages:   e0197662
DOI:   10.1371/journal.pone.0197662
Publication date:   25-May-2018
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • Venezuela
  • HIV
  • vaccination
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