Molecular epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection among intravenous drug users

Enrico Silini, Fulvia Bono, Agostino Cividini, Antonella Cerino, Anna Maccabruni, Carmine Tinelli, Savino Bruno, Antonio Bellobuono, Mario U. Mondelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background/Aims: The clinico-pathologic features of hepatitis C virus infection intravenous drug users are different from those found in other hepatitis C virus-infected patients. Our airm was to test whether specific viral variants circulate within this particular patient population. Methods: We studied the distribution of hepatitis C virus genotypes in 90 drug addicts and 484 controls, according to the method described by Okamoto. Results: Hepatitis C virus type 1a and 3a infections were more frequent among intravenous drug users than in 125 age-matched controls (48.8% and 21.1% vs 17.6% and 11.2%), accounting for the majority of infections in intravenous drug users. Analysis of hepatitis C virus genotypes according to age showed that, in the general population, hepatitis C virus types 1a and 3a were more prevalent among patients younger than 40 years of age than in older individual (17.6% and 11.2% vs. 1.4% and 0.6%). Conclusions: These findings suggest that hepatitis C virus types 1a and 3a were recently introduced in Italy, presumably via needle-sharing among intravenous drug users, and from this reservoir they are extending to the general population, particularly among younger subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-695
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Volume22
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1995

Keywords

  • Drug users
  • Epidemiology
  • Genotypes
  • Hepatitis C virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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