Molecular Epidemiology of Hepatitis B Virus in Central America Reflected in the Genetic Variability of the Small S Gene
Journal of Infectious Diseases
The S genes of 31 Central American hepatitis B virus (HBV) strains belonging to genotypes A, C, D, and F (4, 1, 4, and 22 strains, respectively) were compared with 104 published S genes. According to the deduced S gene product, 21 genotype F strains encoded adw4, while 1 encoded ayw4. Three clusters were revealed within genotype F, which correlated with substitutions at residue 45. In a cluster of 18 Central American and 1 Alaskan strain, all had Thr 45 . One cluster included 2 Central American
... 2 Central American strains and 6 strains from South America and Europe, which had Leu 45 . Two Nicaraguan strains differed by five substitutions, including a Pro 45 in the S gene product from other F strains. In conclusion, the dominating HBV genotype was F, which might be the reason for a low prevalence of HBV in the area, despite high prevalence of hepatitis A. These infections otherwise vary in parallel and are considered to reflect socioeconomic conditions.