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Hepatitis C virus genotypes in Estonia

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Distribution of hepatitis C virus (HCV) geno(sub)types among 215 Estonian patients hospitalized with acute or chronic hepatitis and with HCV RNA-positive sera was investigated. For genotyping, both multiplex PCR with subtype-specific primers of the core region and RFLP analysis of cDNA of the 5′ NCR region were used. These two methods permitted a correct characterization of genotypes, a more truthful characterization of mixed infections, and combined use of single-tube performances. They revealed, respectively, 200 and 202 (93.0% and 93.9%) HCV-positive samples of sera, subtype 1a – 0.9% and 0.9%, 1b – 56.3% and 64.2%, 3a – 13.9% and 22.3%, 2a – 6.5% and 5.6%, type 4 – 0.5% and 0%, mixed infections – 13.5% and 0%, and unidentified – 1.4% and 0.9%. In the majority of cases (84.7%) both methods gave completely or partially concordant results; in mixed infections, as determined by subtype-specific PCR, only one subtype was revealed by the RFLP method. In the remaining 15.3% of the cases (Ohno – 7.0%, RFLP – 8.3%) only one of the methods was positive. The epidemiological analysis of the dynamics of the subtypes' relative participation may indicate increasing 3a and decreasing 1b subtype infection during recent years.

Keywords: Hepatitis C virus; RFLP; RT-PCR; genotyping

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tartu, 2: Department of Microbiology, University of Tartu, 3: Department of Microbiology and Virology, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Tartu, 4: Merimetsa Hospital, Tallinn, 5: Kohtla-Järve Hospital, Kohtla-Järve, 6: Narva Hospital, Narva, 7: Pärnu Hospital, Pärnu, 8: Pelgulinna Hospital, Tallinn, Estonia

Publication date: November 1, 2000


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