Background: In France, there are no consistent data estimating hepatitis delta virus (HDV) prevalence in the general population.
Objectives: To better characterize HDV/HBV infection and its trends over a 15-years period from 1997 to 2011, we used data retrieved from the National Epidemiological Donors database including viral and demographic characteristics of all French HBV infected blood donors.
Study design: Of the 39,911,011 donations collected over the 15 year-study-period, 6214 (1.56 in 10(4) donations) were confirmed positive for HBV from which 72.3% were tested for HDV antibodies (Ab). HDV viral load was performed using a real-time PCR assay on positive HDV Ab samples and HDV genotype determined for each positive viremic sample.
Results: Among the 4492 HBV donations, 89 (1.98%) were HDV Ab positive. After being stable around 1.1% from 1997 to 2005, this rate has continuously increased to reach 6.5% in 2010, before declining to 0.85% in 2011. Of the 61 investigated HDV Ab positive individuals, 22.9% were viremic with a viral load ranging from 10(4) to 9.8 × 10(7) copies mL(-1). Genotyping revealed 12 HDV-1, 1 HDV-6 and 1 HDV-7 in accordance with the geographical origin of individuals.
Conclusion: Such a study gives unexpected features of HBV-HDV infection in the population of blood donors which is a priori, a healthy population. The increase of HDV prevalence mainly linked to migration of population from endemic countries, demonstrates that there is still no complete control of HBV infection and must encourage HBV vaccination campaigns and systematic screening for HDV in HBV-infected.
Keywords: France; HBV; HDV; Prevalence.
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