Transmission of hepatitis B and D viruses in an African rural community

Pinho-Nascimento, Carlos Augusto and Bratschi, Martin W. and Höfer, Rene and Soares, Caroline Cordeiro and Warryn, Louisa and Pečerska, Jūlija and Minyem, Jacques C. and Paixão, Izabel C. N. P. and Baroni de Moraes, Marcia Terezinha and Um Boock, Alphonse and Niel, Christian and Pluschke, Gerd and Röltgen, Katharina. (2018) Transmission of hepatitis B and D viruses in an African rural community. mSystems, 3 (5). e00120-18.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 257 million people worldwide are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), with approximately 15 million of them being coinfected with hepatitis D virus (HDV). To investigate the prevalence and transmission of HBV and HDV within the general population of a rural village in Cameroon, we analyzed serum samples from most (401/448) of the villagers. HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) was detected in 54 (13.5%) of the 401 samples, with 15% of them also containing anti-HDV antibodies. Although Cameroon has integrated HBV vaccination into their Expanded Program on Immunization for newborns in 2005, an HBsAg carriage rate of 5% was found in children below the age of 5 years. Of the 54 HBsAg-positive samples, 49 HBV pre-S/S sequences (7 genotype A and 42 genotype E sequences) could be amplified by PCR. In spite of the extreme geographical restriction in the recruitment of study participants, a remarkable genetic diversity within HBV genotypes was observed. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences obtained from PCR products combined with demographic information revealed that the presence of some genetic variants was restricted to members of one household, indicative of intrafamilial transmission, which appears to take place at least in part perinatally from mother to child. Other genetic variants were more widely distributed, reflecting horizontal interhousehold transmission. Data for two households with more than one HBV-HDV-coinfected individual indicate that the two viruses are not necessarily transmitted together, as family members with identical HBV sequences had different HDV statuses.; IMPORTANCE; This study revealed that the prevalence of HBV and HDV in a rural area of Cameroon is extremely high, underlining the pressing need for the improvement of control strategies. Systematic serological and phylogenetic analyses of HBV sequences turned out to be useful tools to identify networks of virus transmission within and between households. The high HBsAg carriage rate found among children demonstrates that implementation of the HBV birth dose vaccine and improvement of vaccine coverage will be key elements in preventing both HBV and HDV infections. In addition, the high HBsAg carriage rate in adolescents and adults emphasizes the need for identification of chronically infected individuals and linkage to WHO-recommended treatment to prevent progression to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology (MPI) > Molecular Immunology (Pluschke)
UniBasel Contributors:Warryn, Louisa and Pluschke, Gerd and Röltgen, Katharina
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:American Society for Microbiology
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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edoc DOI:
Last Modified:16 Oct 2018 07:54
Deposited On:16 Oct 2018 07:54

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