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World J Gastroenterol. Feb 28, 2008; 14(8): 1237-1243
Published online Feb 28, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.1237
Hepatitis C virus genotypes distribution and transmission risk factors in Luxembourg from 1991 to 2006
Francois Roman, Karin Hawotte, Daniel Struck, Anne-Marie Ternes, Jean-Yves Servais, Vic Arendt, Patrick Hoffman, Robert Hemmer, Thérèse Staub, Carole Seguin-Devaux, Jean-Claude Schmit
Francois Roman, Karin Hawotte, Daniel Struck, Anne-Marie Ternes, Jean-Yves Servais, Carole Seguin-Devaux, Jean-Claude Schmit, Retrovirology Laboratory, CRP-Santé, 84 rue Val fleuri, L-1526, Luxembourg
Vic Arendt, Robert Hemmer, Thérèse Staub, Jean-Claude Schmit, Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg, 4 rue Barblé, L-1210, Luxembourg
Patrick Hoffman, Centre Pénitentiaire de Luxembourg, Um Kuelebierg, L-5299 Schrassig, Luxembourg
Author contributions: Roman F, Schmit JC, Seguin-Devaux C and Hemmer R designed research, Hawotte K, Servais JY, Arendt V, Staub T and Hoffman P performed research, Struck D and Ternes AM analyzed data, Roman F and Seguin-Devaux C wrote the paper.
Correspondence to: Carole Devaux, Retrovirology laboratory, CRP-Santé, 84 rue Val fleuri, L-1526, Luxembourg. devaux.c@retrovirology.lu
Telephone: +352-26-97 02 24
Fax: +352-26-97 02 21
Received: October 17, 2007
Revised: December 4, 2007
Published online: February 28, 2008

AIM: To analyze the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype distribution and transmission risk factors in a population of unselected patients in Luxembourg.

METHODS: Epidemiological information (gender, age and transmission risks) were collected from 802 patients newly diagnosed for hepatitis C and living in Luxembourg, among whom 228 patients referred from prison. Genotyping using 5’noncoding (5’NC) sequencing was performed. We compared categorical data using the Fisher’s exact F-test and odds ratios (OR) were calculated for evaluating association of HCV genotype and risk factors.

RESULTS: The sex ratio was predominantly male (2.2) and individuals aged less than 40 years represented 49.6% of the population. Genotype 1 was predominant (53.4%) followed by genotype 3 (33%). Among risk factors, intravenous drug usage (IVDU) was the most frequently reported (71.4%) followed by medical-related transmission (17.6%) including haemophilia, transfusion recipients and other nosocomial reasons. Genotype 3 was significantly associated to IVDU (OR = 4.84, P < 0.0001) whereas genotype 1 was significantly associated with a medical procedure (OR = 2.42, P < 0.001). The HCV genotype distribution from inmate patients differed significantly from the rest of the population (Chi-square test with four degrees of freedom, P < 0.0001) with a higher frequency of genotype 3 (46.5% vs 27.5%) and a lower frequency of genotype 1 and 4 (44.7% vs 56.8% and 5.3% vs 9.6%, respectively). IVDU was nearly exclusively reported as a risk factor in prison.

CONCLUSION: We report the first description of the HCV genotype distribution in Luxembourg. The repartition is similar to other European countries, with one of the highest European prevalence rates of genotype 3 (33%). Since serology screening became available in 1991, IVDU remains the most common way of HCV transmission in Luxembourg.

Keywords: Hepatitis C virus, Genotypes, Luxembourg, Risk factors, Substance abuse, Prisons