Hepatitis D Virus
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HDV is a circular RNA virus and is the only member of the genus Delta virus. It is found throughout the world and is endemic to the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East, and the Amazon basin of South America. Outside these areas, infections occur primarily in individuals who have received transfusions or inject drugs. HDV requires the presence of HBV for infection and replication. In countries such as the United States where HDV infection is rare, testing for HDV coinfection is not necessary in all patients with HBV. In patients with coinfection (acute hepatitis B and D), the course is transient and self-limited. The rate of progression to chronicity is similar to the one reported for acute HBV. IFN-α is the treatment of choice for chronic hepatitis D.