Injecting drug users are at increased risk of infection with hepatitis viruses and blood-borne pathogens. The aim of this study was to examine HBV, HCV, HDV, and TTV infections in Saudi drug users (N = 344). Extraction of nucleic acid from serum, reverse-transcription, amplification of viral nucleic acids, and HBV and HCV genotyping were done using established techniques. Of the analyzed samples, 41 (12%) contained detectable HBV DNA, 131 (38%) contained detectable HCV RNA, and 174 (51%) had detectable TTV DNA. The predominant HBV genotype was found to be genotype D and the predominant HCV genotype was found to be genotype 1b. All the samples were negative for HDV. Twelve samples (3.5%) were found to contain mixed HBV and HCV genomes, 24 samples (7%) were found to contain mixed HBV and TTV genomes, 82 samples (24%) were found to contain mixed HCV and TTV genomes, and 9 samples (2.6%) were found to contain mixed HBV, HCV, and TTV genomes. Identification of various infections in drug users will help the control of these infections in this group as well as in the community.
2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.