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BMC Infect Dis. 2008 Jun 17;8:82. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-8-82.

Hepatitis C virus prevalence and genetic diversity among pregnant women in Gabon, central Africa.

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Laboratoire de Virologie, Centre International de Recherches Médicales (CIRMF), BP 769, Franceville, Gabon.



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major global public health problem in both developed and developing countries. The prevalence and genetic diversity of HCV in pregnant women in Gabon, central Africa, is not known. We therefore evaluated the prevalence and the circulating genotypes of HCV in a large population cohort of pregnant women.


Blood samples (947) were collected from pregnant women in the five main cities of the country. The prevalence was evaluated by two ELISA tests, and the circulating genotypes were characterized by sequencing and phylogenetic analysis.


Twenty pregnant women (2.1%) were infected with HCV. The seroprevalence differed significantly by region (p = 0.004) and increased significantly with age (p = 0.05), being 1.3% at 14-20 years, 1.1% at 21-25 years, 1.9% at 26-30 years, 4.1% at 31-35 years and 6.0% at > 35 years. Sequencing in the 5'-UTR and NS5B regions showed that the circulating strains belonged to genotypes 4 (4e and 4c).


We found that the HCV seroprevalence in pregnant women in Gabon is almost as high as that in other African countries and increases with age. Furthermore, only genotype 4 (4e and 4c) was found. More extensive studies aiming to evaluate the prevalence and heterogeneity of HCV genotypes circulating in the general population of the country are needed.

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