Molecular Survey of Hepatitis C Virus in the Touristic City of Mar Del Plata, Argentina
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Molecular Survey of Hepatitis C Virus in the Touristic City of Mar Del Plata, Argentina

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      PLoS One
    • Description:
      The global epidemiology of hepatitis C virus (HCV) may be roughly described by two groups of genotypes: the worldwide distributed ones (subtypes 1a, 1b, 2a and 3a, among others) and the endemic ones (subtypes 4a, 5a, 6a, among others). Epidemiological and population dynamic studies of the worldwide distributed genotypes have shown that subtypes 1a and 3a are common among intravenous drug users (IDUs) and that they are also in expansion in some countries. The molecular survey of HCV provides some clues about the epidemiological status of the infections in a local scale and the phylogenetic and demographic reconstruction analyses complement this study by inferring whether the infections of certain subtypes are in a steady state or expanding. Here, a molecular survey of the HCV variants that circulate in the touristic city of Mar del Plata (Buenos Aires, Argentina) was performed in samples obtained from 42 patients. The subtypes detected were 1a (32 patients), 3a (8 patients) and 1b (2 patients). The demographic history of subtype 1a inferred using the sequence data showed an exponential growth in the 1990's. The period of viral expansion was delayed compared with that observed for the same genotype in other countries where the transmission was associated with IDUs. Also, the phylogeographic analysis of HCV-1a showed a statistically significant association between the location of the samples and the phylogeny, which may be the result of the local transmission of HCV in the city. The molecular analysis helped in the description of the complex epidemiological context of a touristic city, and pointed out that some sanitary measures should be taken in order to reduce the transmission of HCV (and maybe of HIV) among IDUs.
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