1887

Abstract

Ten Hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes, as well as numerous subgenotypes, have been described in well-characterized ethnogeographical populations. Martinique has been at a crossroads between Africa, Europe, India and the Americas because of the slave trade (17th–19th centuries), followed by an important immigration of Indian and West African workers. In this work, we aimed to study the molecular epidemiology of HBV infection in Martinique according to this unique settlement pattern. To that end, blood samples from 86 consecutive HBV-infected patients from the main hospitals of the island, were retrospectively analysed. Direct sequencing of the pre-S1 or pre-C-C region or complete genome sequencing, followed by phylogenetic analyses were performed. HBV genotypes were: HBV/A1 (68.6 %), HBV/A2 (10.5 %), HBV/D, mainly HBV/D3 and HBV/D4 (8.1 %), HBV/F (3.5 %), and also HBV/E (2.3 %), two strains isolated from two West-African patients. Moreover, 74 % of the HBeAg-negative strains harboured classical pre-C-C mutations, and most HBV/A1 strains also containing specific mutations. Finally, various patterns of deletion mutants in pre-S and pre-C-C regions were found. In conclusion, our findings point to historical and migration-related issues in HBV-genotype distribution suggesting that HBV/A1, but not HBV/E, was imported from Africa during the slave trade, and further supporting the hypothesis that HBV/E has emerged recently in West Africa (<150 years). Potential origins of ‘European’ HBV/A2 and HBV/D3, ‘Amerindian’ HBV/F, and HBV/D4 strains are also discussed. Such HBV genetic diversity, beyond its epidemiological interest, may have a clinical impact on the natural history of HBV infection in Martinique.

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2013-10-01
2019-12-12
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