Molecular epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection amongst intravenous drug users in rural communities.
Majid A., Holmes R., Desselberger U., Simmonds P., McKee TA.
The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection amongst a group of intravenous drug users (IVDUs) resident in West Suffolk (East Anglia, England) was investigated and compared with the prevalence of infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In addition, both the level of HCV persistence, as defined by detection of viral RNA, and the HCV genotypes present in this population were determined. It was found that HCV antibodies were present in 59% of those tested; by comparison 22% had antibodies to HBV and 1% antibodies to HIV. HCV RNA was found in 44% of those with HCV antibody. HCV genotype 1 was the most prevalent within this population although both genotypes 2 and 3 were also represented.