Screening for retroviruses and hepatitis viruses using dried blood spots reveals a high prevalence of occult hepatitis B in Ghana
Mendoza, Carmen de
Bautista Vallejo, José Manuel
Soriano, Vicente (1)
Tipo de Ítem:Articulo Revista Indexada
Background: Recent advances in antiviral therapy show potential for a cure and/or control of most human infections caused by hepatitis viruses and retroviruses. However, medical success is largely dependent on the identification of the large number of people unaware of these infections, especially in developing countries. Dried blood spots (DBS) have been demonstrated to be a good tool for collecting, storing and transporting clinical specimens from rural areas and limited-resource settings to laboratory facilities, where viral infections can be more reliably diagnosed. Methods: The seroprevalence and virological characterization of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), as well as human retroviruses (HIV-1, HIV-2, human T-cell leukaemia virus type 1 [HTLV-1] and human T-cell leukaemia virus type 2 [HTLV-2]), were investigated in clinical specimens collected from DBS in Ghana. Results: A total of 305 consecutive DBS were collected. A high prevalence of chronic HBV (8.5%) and occult hepatitis B (14.2%) was found, whereas rates were lower for HIV-1, HTLV-1 and HCV (3.2%, 1.3% and 0.6%, respectively). HIV-2 and HTLV-2 were absent. CRF02_AG was the predominant HIV-1 subtype, whereas genotype E was the most frequent HBV variant. Conclusions: DBS are helpful in the diagnosis and virological characterization of hepatitis and retrovirus infections in resource-limited settings. The high rate of hepatitis B in Ghana, either overt or occult, is noteworthy and confirms recent findings from other sub-Saharan countries. This should encourage close clinical follow up and antiviral treatment assessment in this population, as well as universal HBV vaccine campaigns.
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