Molecular and epidemiological profiles of hepatitis C virus genotype 4 in Denmark

Mette Brandt Eriksen, Louise Bruun Jørgensen, Niels Henrik Krarup, Alex Lund Laursen, Peer Brehm Christensen, Axel Møller, Poul Schlichting, Carla Kuiken, Jens Bukh, Nina Weis, DANHEP Group

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 4 has increased throughout Europe. This is an epidemiological study of patients infected chronically with HCV genotype 4 in Denmark. The HCV strains analyzed originated from patient samples collected between 1999 and 2007 as part of the national Danish hepatitis B and C network, DANHEP. Sequence analyses were based on the envelope 1 region of HCV. Results from a total of 72 patients indicated a high degree of genetic heterogeneity. Fifty-six patients (78%) were infected with one of the three dominating subtypes: 4d, 4a, or 4r. The remaining 16 patients (22%) were infected with subtypes 4h, 4k, 4l, 4n, 4o, or 4Unclassified. Three epidemiological profiles were identified: (1) patients infected with HCV by intravenous drug use were infected solely with subtype 4d. They were all of European origin, and 15 of the 16 patients were ethnic Danes. No single transmission event could be confirmed, but the pairwise nucleotide identity within the patients of Danish origin was relatively high (∼95%), suggesting a recent introduction into Denmark. (2) The 21 patients infected with subtype 4a all came from Northern Africa, Egypt, Pakistan, or the Middle East. (3) Patients from Southern Africa dominated among patients infected with subtype 4r (10 of 12 patients). This study demonstrates that HCV genotype 4d has been introduced in and spread among Danish intravenous drug users. The remaining subtypes show restricted distribution, infecting almost exclusively patients from geographical areas with a relatively high prevalence of HCV genotype 4 infections.
TidsskriftJournal of Medical Virology
Udgave nummer11
Sider (fra-til)1869-1877
StatusUdgivet - 2010


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