Epidemiology and diagnosis of hepatitis D virus

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The distribution of hepatitis D virus (HDV) is worldwide but not uniform. Current estimates suggest that 15-20 million people have exposure to HDV. Traditionally, areas of high prevalence are the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East, central Africa, the Amazonian basin and parts of Asia. As a consequence of vaccination against HBV and other prophylactic measures, the prevalence of HDV declined in Italy, Spain, Turkey and Taiwan. This downward trend stopped in the 1990s; a new location for HDV epidemics arose in western Europe, due to migration from endemic areas. HDV appeared in new geographic regions, posing a serious health threat in underdeveloped countries. Testing for anti-HVD antibodies in serum is the initial step in diagnosing HDV infection, but unravelling HDV RNA is essential to identify active replication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-717
Number of pages9
JournalFuture Virology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • coinfection
  • drug users
  • endemicity
  • HBV vaccine
  • HDV
  • immigration
  • prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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