Dynamics of hepatitis D (delta) virus genotype 3 in the Amazon region of South America.

Alvarado-Mora MV, Romano CM, Gomes-Gouvea MS, Gutierrez MF, Carrilho FJ, Pinho JR.

Infect Genet Evol. 2011 Aug;11(6):1462-8. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2011.05.020. Epub 2011 May 27.

Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is widely distributed and associated with fulminant hepatitis epidemics in areas with high prevalence of HBV. Several studies performed in the 1980s showed data on HDV infection in South America, but there are no studies on the viral dynamics of this virus. The aim of this study was to conduct an evolutionary analysis of hepatitis delta genotype 3 (HDV/3) prevalent in South America: estimate its nucleotide substitution rate, determine the time of most recent ancestor (TMRCA) and characterize the epidemic history and evolutionary dynamics. Furthermore, we characterized the presence of HBV/HDV infection in seven samples collected from patients who died due to fulminant hepatitis from Amazon region in Colombia and included them in the evolutionary analysis. This is the first study reporting HBV and HDV sequences from the Amazon region of Colombia. Of the seven Colombian patients, five were positive for HBV-DNA and HDV-RNA. Of them, two samples were successfully sequenced for HBV (subgenotypes F3 and F1b) and the five samples HDV positive were classified as HDV/3. By using all HDV/3 available reference sequences with sampling dates (n=36), we estimated the HDV/3 substitution rate in 1.07 x 10(-3) substitutions per site per year (s/s/y), which resulted in a time to the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) of 85 years. Also, it was determined that HDV/3 spread exponentially from early 1950s to the 1970s in South America. This work discusses for the first time the viral dynamics for the HDV/3 circulating in South America. We suggest that the measures implemented to control HBV transmission resulted in the control of HDV/3 spreading in South America, especially after the important raise in this infection associated with a huge mortality during the 1950s up to the 1970s. The differences found among HDV/3 and the other HDV genotypes concerning its diversity raises the hypothesis of a different origin and/or a different transmission route.

PMID: 21645647

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.