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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.
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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: 2000-11-01

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