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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2010 Dec;105(8):970-7.

Epidemiology and molecular characterization of hepatitis B virus in Luanda, Angola.

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Laboratório de Virologia Molecular, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.


An estimated 360 million people are infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) worldwide. Among these, 65 million live in Africa. Despite the high levels of hepatitis B in Africa, HBV epidemiology is still poorly documented in most African countries. In this work, the epidemiological and molecular characteristics of HBV infection were evaluated among the staff, visitors and adult patients (n = 508) of a public hospital in Luanda, Angola. The overall prevalence of hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) and hepatitis B surface antigen was 79.7% and 15.1%, respectively. HBV infection was higher in males and was more prevalent in individuals younger than 50 years old. HBV-DNA was detected in 100% of HBV "e" antigen-positive serum samples and in 49% of anti-hepatitis Be antibody-positive samples. Thirty-five out of the 40 HBV genotypes belonged to genotype E. Circulation of genotypes A (4 samples) and D (1 sample) was also observed. The present study demonstrates that HBV infection is endemic in Luanda, which has a predominance of genotype E. This genotype is only sporadically found outside of Africa and is thought to have emerged in Africa at a time when the trans-Atlantic slave trade had stopped.

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