Complex patterns of HCV epidemic in Suzhou: evidence for dual infection and HCV recombination in East China.J Clin Virol. 2012 Jul; 54(3):207-12.JC
HCV transmission is closely associated with injection drug use (IDU), and co-circulation of multiple subtypes has been found among injection drug users (IDUs) in China.
To investigate HCV subtype characterizations among IDUs and general population (GP) in Suzhou, a city at the important "Hu-ning" transportation line.
During January 2010 to May 2011, 123 HCV positive plasma from IDUs and 131 stored HCV positive sera from general individuals were collected in Suzhou. HCV C/E2 and NS5B fragments were amplified using a new multiple RT-nested PCR strategy and subsequent sequenced. Genotypes were characterized by phylogenetic analyses.
Eight HCV subtypes (1a, 1b, 2a, 3a, 3b, 6a, 6n, and 6u) were detected among Suzhou IDUs, and six subtypes (1b, 2a, 3a, 3b, 6a and 6n) among GP. HCV subtype distribution is distinct between IDUs and GP. Interestingly, we detected discrepancy of genotyping results between C/E2 and NS5B regions in one general individual, indicating the presence of HCV intersubtype recombinant in China. The recombinant belongs to a 3a/1b recombinant. We also detected dual infections in one general individual and two IDUs. They include dual infections between 1b and 3a, 3a and 6a, and two distinct lineages of 3b.
Complex patterns of HCV epidemic among IDUs, as well as GP, in Suzhou, might imply a spread of HCV from IDUs to GP. The finding of one HCV 3a/1b intersubtype recombinant might represent the first report of HCV recombination in China.