Characterization of Hepatitis C virus circulating among injecting drug users (IDU) in Kilifi county, Kenya
- Journal of Human Virology & Retrovirology
Mainga Onchong’a Robert,1 Odari Okoth Eddy,2 Borus Kimutai Peter,1 Ole Kwallah Allan,1 Murith GikundaJames,1 Ruttoh Kiplangat Vincent,1 Mwandawiro Smiti Charles,1 Lihana Wekesa Raphael1
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1.1. Background: Hepatitis C virus is a major global health problem estimated to infect over 170 million people globally with the most common route of infection being injecting drug use (IDU). Treatment for HCV infection has traditionally been shown to be genotype specific; however the available drugs are still expensive and out of reach in many developing countries. To improve on monitoring, there is need to continuously document the genotypic burden and epidemiology in different populations arises.
1.2. Objectives: This study aimed to determine the circulating genotypes and link the data to the socio-demographics of injecting drug users in Kilifi County along the Kenyan coastline.
1.3. Methods: Using a random sampling method, this was a cross-sectional prospective study conducted among 127 injecting drug users, whereby ethical clearance was sought from Kenyatta National Hospital/ University of Nairobi Ethical and Research review committee (KNH/UON-ERC), and Reference number P366/07/2017 on 25th September 2017. Serology for HCV was done followed by nucleic acid amplification and eventual genotyping. Socio-demographic data was collected using questionnaire administered at the sites.
1.4. Results: A total of 28 (23 males and 5 females) samples out of 127 samples were positive for HCV giving a prevalence of 22.1%. The modal age group was 25- 49 years. Of the positive samples, 11 were amplified by PCR, all from the male IDUs. Prevalent genotypes included genotype 1a (13%) and genotype 4a (87%). Both genotype 1a and 4a were only found in males. Conclusion: Although it is the first time to report HCV4a in Kilifi town and Mtwapa as compared to Watamu and Malindi which had both HCV1a and HCV4a. Tourists born in countries where HCV prevalence is high are supposed to be screened before accessing entry to Kilifi County. No clinical trial was conducted. The study reveals the burden of HCV infection among IDUs in Kilifi County. The Government should formulate policies for intervention on testing and treatment of HCV in Kilifi County targeting IDUs in order to minimize spread to other populations.
characterization, hepatitis c virus, genotyping, prevalence