Background: Hepatitis C is a major public health problem. HCV infection contributes to progressive liver disease, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. HCV has high genetic heterogeneity and is classified into various genotypes and subtypes. Regional differences exist in their distribution. The aim of this study was to investigate the relative frequency of HCV genotypes in Greek patients with chronic infection.
Methods: We evaluated 82 patients with chronic HCV infection, both males and females, belonging to different risk groups. We performed viral load measurement and HCV genotyping in all specimens.
Results: HCV genotype 3 was the most prevalent (41.5%) followed by genotype 1 (34.1%), 2 (12.2%), 4 (10.9%), and 5 (1.2%). Genotype 6 was not detected in any patient. Most prevalent subtypes were 3a (32.9%), 1b (26.8%), and 2a (6.1%). Fourteen subjects revealed mixed infections within types. There were no cases with mixed infections across types.
Conclusions: Our data indicate that genotypes 3a and 1b are the most prevalent in Greek patients. Genotype 3a is predominant in younger patients and also in male patients. Moreover, HCV genotype distribution is in continuous temporal change in Greece.
DOI: Clin. Lab. 2012;58:173-176