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High prevalence and diversity of hepatitis B and hepatitis delta virus in Gabon.

Abstract

Although central Africa is classified as having a high endemicity of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection, there is paucity of prevalence studies. For the first time on a country-wide level in Central Africa, we show in Gabon an overall 7.4% prevalence of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and that more than 25% of the HBsAg-positive population are infected by HDV. Although HBV prevalence did not differ significantly between provinces, there is a north-south split in the distribution of HDV seroprevalence, with the highest rates (>66.0%) correlating with the presence of specific ethnic groups in the northeastern provinces. Genotyping revealed high genetic diversity of the HBV and HDV strains circulating in Gabon, including many restricted to this region of the globe. This work confirmed that high exposure to HBV and HDV infection reported in selected regions of Gabon holds true across the whole country.

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