1887

Abstract

Despite the significant public health problems associated with hepatitis B virus (HBV) in sub-Saharan Africa, many countries in this region do not have systematic HBV surveillance or genetic information on HBV circulating locally. Here, we report on the genetic characterization of 772 HBV strains from Tanzania. Phylogenetic analysis of the S-gene sequences showed prevalence of HBV genotype A (HBV/A, =671, 86.9 %), followed by genotypes D (HBV/D, =95, 12.3 %) and E (HBV/E, =6, 0.8 %). All HBV/A sequences were further classified into subtype A1, while the HBV/D sequences were assigned to a new cluster. Among the Tanzanian sequences, 84 % of HBV/A1 and 94 % of HBV/D were unique. The Tanzanian and global HBV/A1 sequences were compared and were completely intermixed in the phylogenetic tree, with the Tanzanian sequences frequently generating long terminal branches, indicating a long history of HBV/A1 infections in the country. The time to the most recent common ancestor was estimated to be 188 years ago [95 % highest posterior density (HPD): 132 to 265 years] for HBV/A1 and 127 years ago (95 % HPD: 79 to 192 years) for HBV/D. The Bayesian skyline plot showed that the number of transmissions ‘exploded’ exponentially between 1960–1970 for HBV/A1 and 1970–1990 for HBV/D, with the effective population of HBV/A1 having expanded twice as much as that of HBV/D. The data suggest that Tanzania is at least a part of the geographic origin of the HBV/A1 subtype. A recent increase in the transmission rate and significant HBV genetic diversity should be taken into consideration when devising public health interventions to control HBV infections in Tanzania.

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2017-05-01
2019-12-09
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