High prevalence of chronic hepatitis D virus infection in Eastern Turkey: urbanization of the disease
Dulger, Ahmet Cumhur
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Introduction: Both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection play an increasingly important role in liver diseases. The main objective of this study was to investigate the socio-epidemiological, laboratory and radiological aspects of both HBV and HDV infection near the Iranian border of Turkey. Material and methods: The study included 3352 patients with HBV and HDV infection. Socioepidemiological, laboratory and radiological aspects of the study subjects were retrospectively examined. Comorbid metabolic diseases were not assessed due to the retrospective design of the study. Results: Most of the study subjects were HBe antigen negative. No significant difference in terms of HBV-DNA levels or HBe antigen seropositivity was detected between the city centre and rural areas (p > 0.005). The mean HBV-DNA level in the anti-HDV-positive group was significantly lower than in the anti-HDV-negative group (p < 0.001). The rate of HDV-RNA positivity in women was higher than in their male counterparts (p = 0.017). Anti-HDV-IgG was detected in 18.4% of tested subjects who came from an urban area. In contrast, 12.5% of subjects of the rural group had a positive result for anti-HDV-IgG. Among 134 ultrasonographically evaluated delta hepatitis patients, 37.3% had liver cirrhosis. On the other hand, in 1244 patients with hepatitis B monoinfection, there were 90 patients with liver cirrhosis. Radiologically, the rate of hepatic steatosis in delta hepatitis patients was lower than in those with HBV monoinfection. Conclusions: Hepatitis D virus infection was particularly prevalent among the urban population as well as in female subjects. More broadly, the current observations are the first to suggest an inverse correlation between delta hepatitis and ultrasonography-proven hepatic steatosis.