Prevalence of hepatitis C genotypes among patients with chronic hepatitis C in Norway. Construct Group.
Bell H., Hellum K., Harthug S., Maeland A., Ritland S., Myrvang B., von der Lippe B., Raknerud N., Skaug K., Prescott L., Simmonds P.
Among 116 patients with biopsy-confirmed chronic hepatitis C (Riba 2 or Riba 3 positive) in a multicenter study in southern Norway on interferon, we determined hepatitis C virus genotype by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of the 5' NCR. The RFLP method was supplemented by and compared with a serological typing method based on the detection of type-specific antibody to peptide from the NS-4 region. A total of 102/106 (96%) patient sera showed detectable type-specific antibody to NS-4 peptides and corresponded in all cases, except two, to the genotype detected by polymerase chain reaction. Combining the results from RFLP genotyping and serotyping, genotype 1 was found in 40 (35%) (27 with 1a and 10 with 1b, 3 subtypes not determined), genotype 2 in 15 (13%) (subtype 2b in 14 and 1 subtype not determined), and genotype 3 in 58 (50%) of patients. The low mean age of the patients (34 years), the low prevalence of cirrhosis (3.5%), the short duration of the disease, and a high prevalence of intravenous-drug abusers may account for the low prevalence of infection with genotype 1b (9%). The epidemiological features of hepatitis C patients are markedly different from patient groups described in southern Europe in terms of risk factors, age, and genotype distribution.