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Epidemiological update of hepatitis B, C and delta in Latin America

Mónica V Alvarado-Mora, João R Rebello Pinho

Corresponding author name: Mónica V Alvarado-Mora
Corresponding author e-mail: monica.viviana@usp.br

Citation: Antiviral Therapy 2013; 18:429-433
doi: 10.3851/IMP2595

Date accepted: 26 August 2012
Date published online: 21 June 2013

Abstract

Viral hepatitis B, C and delta still remain a serious problem in Latin America. Data from the 1980s indicated that HBV and HDV infection are the main causes of chronic hepatitis. However, the spread of HBV infection could be controlled through the implementation of immunization programmes. Different countries from Mexico to Argentina display marked differences in terms of HBV genotype distribution. HBV genotype F has been identified as the most frequent in most Latin America countries, except for Mexico and Brazil, where genotypes H and A are the most frequent, respectively. In Latin America, the overall prevalence of HCV antibody is estimated to be 1.5%. Latin American countries have been very proactive in screening their blood supplies, thus minimizing risk of HCV transmission through transfusion. The number of diagnosed and treated patients is still low, thereby increasing the burden of complications such as liver cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. The most prevalent HCV genotype is 1, which is the genotype with the greatest worldwide spread, but it is a different genotype from other regions like Africa and Asia. HDV is present worldwide but its distribution pattern is not uniform. HDV was recently detected in novel geographic regions, reinforcing that it is a very serious health threat in under-developed countries. The main prevalence areas are the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East, central and northern Asia, western and central Africa, the Amazonian basin (Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia) and the Pacific islands. Novel strategies to increase HBV immunization in the Latin American population are needed to warrant thorough coverage in the rural areas.

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