Changing epidemiology and viral interplay of hepatitis B, C and D among injecting drug user-dominant prisoners in Taiwan.

Research paper by Ming-Ying MY Lu, Chun-Ting CT Chen, Yu-Lueng YL Shih, Pei-Chien PC Tsai, Meng-Hsuan MH Hsieh, Chung-Feng CF Huang, Ming-Lun ML Yeh, Ching-I CI Huang, Shu-Chi SC Wang, Yi-Shan YS Tsai, Yu-Min YM Ko, Ching-Chih CC Lin, Kuan-Yu KY Chen, Yu-Ju YJ Wei, Po-Yao PY Hsu, et al.

Indexed on: 22 Apr '21Published on: 22 Apr '21Published in: Scientific Reports


The spreading of viral hepatitis among injecting drug users (IDU) is an emerging public health concern. This study explored the prevalence and the risks of hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis D virus (HDV) among IDU-dominant prisoners in Taiwan. HBV surface antigen (HBsAg), antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV) and HDV (anti-HDV), viral load and HCV genotypes were measured in 1137(67.0%) of 1697 prisoners. 89.2% of participants were IDUs and none had HIV infection. The prevalence of HBsAg, anti-HCV, dual HBsAg/anti-HCV, HBsAg/anti-HDV, and triple HBsAg/anti-HCV/anti-HDV was 13.6%, 34.8%, 4.9%, 3.4%, and 2.8%, respectively. HBV viremia rate was significantly lower in HBV/HCV-coinfected than HBV mono-infected subjects (66.1% versus 89.9%, adjusted odds ratio/95% confidence intervals [aOR/CI] = 0.27/0.10-0.73). 47.5% anti-HCV-seropositive subjects (n = 396) were non-viremic, including 23.2% subjects were antivirals-induced. The predominant HCV genotypes were genotype 6(40.9%), 1a(24.0%) and 3(11.1%). HBsAg seropositivity was negatively correlated with HCV viremia among the treatment naïve HCV subjects (44.7% versus 72.4%, aOR/CI = 0.27/0.13-0.58). Anti-HCV seropositivity significantly increased the risk of anti-HDV-seropositivity among HBsAg carriers (57.1% versus 7.1%, aOR/CI = 15.73/6.04-40.96). In conclusion, IUDs remain as reservoirs for multiple hepatitis viruses infection among HIV-uninfected prisoners in Taiwan. HCV infection increased the risk of HDV infection but suppressed HBV replication in HBsAg carriers. An effective strategy is mandatory to control the epidemic in this high-risk group.

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