1887

Abstract

The molecular epidemiology of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the Central African Republic (CAR) is poorly documented. Thus, we conducted phylogenetic analyses of NS5B gene sequences from 58 HCV-infected inhabitants of a remote area of south-west CAR, which indicated that 48 (82.8 %) were infected with genotype 4 (HCV-4), five (8.6 %) with genotype 2 and five (8.6 %) with genotype 1. HCV-4 strains were highly heterogeneous, containing previously described subtypes 4k (48 %), 4c (27 %), 4r (4 %), 4f (4 %) and unclassified subtypes (17 %). To estimate the epidemic history of these HCV-4 strains, an evolutionary analysis using the coalescent approach was used. The estimated date of the most recent common ancestor of the CAR HCV-4 strains was 1539 (95 % confidence intervals, 1317–1697). They exhibited a rapid, exponential spread from 1935 to 1965, simultaneously with what was recently reported in neighbouring Cameroon and Gabon. The hypothesis of a massive iatrogenic transmission during interventions for the control of endemic tropical diseases is discussed.

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2009-10-01
2019-12-15
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