Spread of hepatitis C virus among European injection drug users infected with HIV: a phylogenetic analysis.
van Asten L., Verhaest I., Lamzira S., Hernandez-Aguado I., Zangerle R., Boufassa F., Rezza G., Broers B., Robertson JR., Brettle RP., McMenamin J., Prins M., Cochrane A., Simmonds P., Coutinho RA., Bruisten S., European and Italian Seroconverter Studies None.
To describe the spread of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HCV/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-coinfected injection drug users (IDUs), the molecular epidemiology of HCV was studied among 108 IDUs from 7 European countries. Phylogenetic analysis based on the NS5B region showed great sequence variation of HCV within each country and no clear phylogenetic clustering by geographic region. The most prevalent subtypes were 1a and 3a, but the percentage of genotype 4 was also relatively high, ranging from 7% in northern Europe to 24% in southern Europe. Genotype 4 consisted mainly of subtype 4d and has entered the majority of the IDU populations studied. The significantly lower evolutionary distances within subtype 4d suggest that this subtype may have entered the European IDU population relatively recently. In conclusion, HCV exchange between European IDU populations has occurred on a large scale, and, overall, country-specific clustering for HCV was less than that shown for HIV.