Hepatitis C virus genotypes in Serbia and Montenegro: The prevalence and clinical significance
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AIM: To investigate the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes in Serbia and Montenegro and their influence on some clinical characteristics in patients with chronic HCV infection. METHODS: A total of 164 patients was investigated. Complete history route of infection, assessment of alcohol consumption, an abdominal ultrasound, standard biochemical tests and liver biopsy were done. Gene sequencing of 5 NTR type-specific PCR or commercial kits was performed for HCV genotyping and subtyping. The SPSS for Windows (version 10.0) was used for univariate regression analysis with further multivariate analysis. RESULTS: The genotypes 1, 2, 3, 4, 1b3a and 1b4 were present in 57.9%, 3.79/b, 23.2%, 6.7%, 6.7% and 1.8% of the patients, respectively. The genotype 1 (mainly the subtype 1b) was found to be independent of age in subjects older than 40 years, high viral load, more severe necro-inflammatory activity, advanced stage of fibrosis, and absence of intravenous drug abuse. The genotype... 3a was associated with intravenous drug abuse and the age below 40. Multivariate analysis demonstrated age over 40 and intravenous drug abuse as the positive predictive factors for the genotypes 1b and 3a, respectively. CONCLUSION: In Serbia and Montenegro, the genotypes 1b and 3a predominate in patients with chronic HCV infection. The subtype 1b is characteristic of older patients, while the genotype 3a is common in drug abusers. Association of the subtype lb with advanced liver disease, higher viral load and histological activity suggests earlier infection with this genotype and eventually its increased pathogenicity. (c) 2007 The WJG Press. All rights reserved.