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Indian J Med Microbiol. 2013 Oct-Dec;31(4):354-9. doi: 10.4103/0255-0857.118877.

A study of changing trends of prevalence and genotypic distribution of hepatitis C virus among high risk groups in North India.

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Department of Microbiology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India.



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has emerged as a leading cause of chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. There is a great variability in HCV's geographical presence, transmission routes, genotypic distribution etc., in studied populations. We undertook this study in a North Indian hospital on patients of chronic liver disease to observe any emerging trend in risk groups, transmission patterns, genotypic distribution of the virus in this geographical region and its correlation with viral load.


There were 54 anti-HCV positive patients including 31 HCV Ribonucleic acid (RNA) positive patients were included in the study. HCV genotyping was carried out by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) followed by direct sequencing of the core region. Viral load estimation was carried out by Taqman real time polymerase chain reaction system.


In 45/54 (83.3%) anti-HCV positive patients, iatrogenic procedures were responsible for transmission with blood transfusion alone responsible in 36/54 (67%). Genotype 3 was observed to be the commonest type found in all risk groups followed by type 1 and 2. Subtype 3b (35.5%) was found more prevalent than subtype 3a. A higher frequency of subtype 1b (19.4%) was also seen. Genotype 1 was associated with a significantly higher viral load compared to genotypes 3 and 2. No significant difference was observed in the biochemical profile among the three genotypes except for the levels of the enzyme, aspartate aminotransferase (AST).


Iatrogenic procedures, especially contaminated blood transfusion etc., still contributes significantly to the pool of HCV infection. Genotype 3 is the predominant genotype in North India, though the subtype distribution within genotype 3 may be changing. The association of severe liver disease is significantly more with genotype 1 as evidenced by higher viral load and deranged AST levels.

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