Table of Contents
Hepatitis Research and Treatment
Volume 2010, Article ID 878356, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/878356
Research Article

Epidemiological and Clinical Features of Hepatitis B Virus Genotypes among Immigrants in Southern Italy

1Clinica di Malattie Infettive, Università degli Studi di Foggia, Foggia 71100, Italy
2Sezione di Igiene, Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche ed Occupazionali, Università di Foggia, Foggia 71100, Italy
3Dipartimento di Laboratorio, Ospedali Riuniti, Foggia 71100, Italy

Received 5 August 2009; Revised 29 January 2010; Accepted 9 March 2010

Academic Editor: Hubert Erich Blum

Copyright © 2010 Gaetano Scotto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background/aims. This study aims to determine the distribution and clinical features of HBV-genotypes in a population of immigrants affected by HBV-infection. Methods. Between 01/2003 and 03/2009, 1623 immigrants were tested for HBV-infection. Biochemical and virological activities were determined in HBsAg-positive patients; HBV-genotypes were determined, by the INNO-LiPA HBV Genotyping, in the subjects with HBV DNA detectable. In every patient we evaluated the stage and classified the infection as inactive carrier, mild or moderate/severe chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and/or HCC. Results. Among the tested subjects, 191 (11.7%) resulted HBsAg-positive, and in 144/191 (75.4%) serum HBV-DNA was detectable. The genotype distribution was as follows: 45,13% genotype E, 18,1% genotype D, 15,3% genotype B, 13,2% genotype C, 4,9% genotype A, 3,5% mixed genotypes (A–D). The evaluation of liver disease degree showed that 24.6% patients were inactive carriers of HBV infection, 19.4% presented a immunotolerance phase, 34.5% had mild chronic hepatitis, 13.6% had a moderate/severe chronic hepatitis, 6.3% had cirrhosis, and 1.6% presented HCC. Conclusions. Our study evidences a high prevalence of HBV-infection in immigrants, and the potentiality of migratory flow in the introduction of genotype non-D hepatitis B virus. The Hepatitis B virus genotypes presented significant differences in epidemiological and clinical characteristics.