The Effects of Widespread Methadone Treatment on the Molecular Epidemiology of Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Injection Drug Users in Hong Kong
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AbstractThe distribution of HCV genotypes among injection drug users in Hong Kong was assessed in context of methadone treatment availability. Three time periods were defined by the year of initiating injection-on or before 1980, 1981-1994, and 1995-2006-with methadone becoming widely available since the second period. Of the 273 HCV RNA-positive cases, the most prevalent subtype was HCV 6a (52.4%), followed by HCV 1b (38.5%). The new variants of HCV subtypes 6e and 6h were detected. Both subtypes 1b and 6a were prevalent among older injectors, while subtype 3a was more common in young injectors and those initiating injection recently during the third time period. Age (P < 0.05) and recent injection frequency (P < 0.01) were independently associated with HCV 6a infection. Subtype 1b was predominant in the first period, whereas 6a was more common in the second and third. Subtype 1b sequences appeared to have originated at two positions on the phylogenetic tree, while 6a showed a more disperse distribution suggestive of multiple introductions. Phylogenetic analysis on the NS5B region did not reveal specific clustering of any subtype/genotype. Overall, there was no suggestion of outbreaks of HCV. The extensive use of methadone may have protected Hong Kong from the emergence of HCV clusters among injection drug users. J. Med. Virol. 83:1187-1194, 2011. (C) 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
All Author(s) ListChan DPC, Lee SS, Lee KCK
Journal nameJournal of Medical Virology
Year2011
Month7
Day1
Volume Number83
Issue Number7
PublisherWiley: 12 months
Pages1187 - 1194
ISSN0146-6615
eISSN1096-9071
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
KeywordsHCV genotyping; Hong Kong; injection drug users; methadone treatment; phylogenetic analysis
Web of Science Subject CategoriesVirology; VIROLOGY

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