Phylogenetic analysis confirms hepatitis C virus transmission among hemodialysis patients in Kosovo
Introduction: It has recently been demonstrated that there is a very high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among hemodialysis patients in Kosovo with HCV subtype 1 being the most prevalent subtype. In this study, we further detail the molecular epidemiology of HCV outbreaks occurring in seven dialysis centers in Kosovo.
Methodology: In total, 273 samples obtained from HCV RNA positive patients undergoing hemodialysis at one of the seven centers in Kosovo were selected for this study: 171 subtype 1a samples, 91 subtype 4d samples, and 11 subtype 1b samples. A partial HCV NS5B region was amplified and sequenced. Subtype-specific phylogenetic analyses were performed with the inclusion of control sequences and transmission clusters were identified.
Results: NS5B sequences were successfully obtained in 257/273 (94.1%) of samples; 162 subtype 1a, 84 subtype 4d, and 11 subtype 1b sequences. Phylogenetic analyses showed a high degree of phylogenetic clustering of HCV sequences subtyped 1a (99.4%), 1b (63.6%), and 4d (76.2%). Distinct phylogenetic clusters of sequences obtained from hemodialysis patients were observed for all three subtypes studied. In addition, several smaller clusters within the large clusters were identified, mainly from a single dialysis center.
Conclusions: Phylogenetic analyses confirmed nosocomial transmission during dialysis as a major factor in the spread of HCV at the seven dialysis centers in Kosovo.
Copyright (c) 2019 Xhevat Jakupi, Jana Mlakar, Maja Lunar, Ibrahim Rudhani, Lul Raka, Norma Tavakoli, Mario Poljak
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