Hepatitis C virus prevalence and serotypes associated with HIV in The Gambia

Mboto, C. I., Fielder, M., Davies-Russell, Angela and Jewell, A. (2010) Hepatitis C virus prevalence and serotypes associated with HIV in The Gambia. British Journal of Biomedical Science, 67(3), pp. 140-144. ISSN (print) 0967-4845


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) serotypes are important in the epidemiology and pathogenesis of HCV-related disease, but little is known of this connection in West Africa. Coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. This study aims to determine the prevalence of HCV and its serotypes associated with HIV in The Gambia. A total of 1500 individuals referred to the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital for HIV serology between July and December, 2002 were screened for antibodies to HIV and subsequently for HCV, and seropositive samples were typed. This study shows HIV and HCV prevalence of 6.7% and 1.6%, respectively, with a co-infection rate of 0.6%. Serotype 2 showed the highest prevalence (58.1%), followed by serotype 1 (19.4%). Prevalence of HCV serotype 3 was 6.5% and five samples were untypeable. Co-infection of HIV-1 with HCV serotype 1 showed a prevalence of 44.4%, and with HCV serotype 2 of 33.3%. The findings support the evidence to suggest the West African subregion as the origin of HCV serotype 2. It also demonstrates the need for routine HCV screening of HIV-infected persons and blood donations, and calls for further studies to elucidate the sources of the HCV virus.

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