Next-Generation Sequencing Reveals Frequent Opportunities for Exposure to Hepatitis C Virus in Ghana Journal Article


Authors: Forbi, J. C.; Layden, J. E.; Phillips, R. O.; Mora, N; Xia, G. L.; Campo, D. S.; Purdy, M. A.; Dimitrova, Z. E.; Owusu, D. O.; Punkova, L. T.; Skums, P.; Owusu-Ofori, S.; Sarfo, F. S.; Vaughan, G.; Roh, H.; Opare-Sem, O. K.; Cooper, R. S.; Khudyakov, Y. E.
Article Title: Next-Generation Sequencing Reveals Frequent Opportunities for Exposure to Hepatitis C Virus in Ghana
Abstract: Globally, hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection is responsible for a large proportion of persons with liver disease, including cancer. The infection is highly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. West Africa was identified as a geographic origin of two HCV genotypes. However, little is known about the genetic composition of HCV populations in many countries of the region. Using conventional and next-generation sequencing (NGS), we identified and genetically characterized 65 HCV strains circulating among HCV-positive blood donors in Kumasi, Ghana. Phylogenetic analysis using consensus sequences derived from 3 genomic regions of the HCV genome, 5'-untranslated region, hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) and NS5B gene, consistently classified the HCV variants (n = 65) into genotypes 1 (HCV-1, 15%) and genotype 2 (HCV-2, 85%). The Ghanaian and West African HCV-2 NS5B sequences were found completely intermixed in the phylogenetic tree, indicating a substantial genetic heterogeneity of HCV-2 in Ghana. Analysis of HVR1 sequences from intra-host HCV variants obtained by NGS showed that three donors were infected with >1 HCV strain, including infections with 2 genotypes. Two other donors share an HCV strain, indicating HCV transmission between them. The HCV-2 strain sampled from one donor was replaced with another HCV-2 strain after only 2 months of observation, indicating rapid strain switching. Bayesian analysis estimated that the HCV-2 strains in Ghana were expanding since the 16th century. The blood donors in Kumasi, Ghana, are infected with a very heterogeneous HCV population of HCV-1 and HCV-2, with HCV-2 being prevalent. The detection of three cases of co- or super-infections and transmission linkage between 2 cases suggests frequent opportunities for HCV exposure among the blood donors and is consistent with the reported high HCV prevalence. The conditions for effective HCV-2 transmission existed for ~ 3-4 centuries, indicating a long epidemic history of HCV-2 in Ghana.
Keywords: Public Health Sciences
Journal Title: PloS one
Volume: 10
Issue: 12
ISSN: 1932-6203; 1932-6203
Publisher: Unknown  
Journal Place: United States
Date Published: 2015
Start Page: e0145530
Language: eng
DOI/URL:
Notes: LR: 20160101; JID: 101285081; OID: NLM: PMC4684299; 2015 [ecollection]; 2015/08/11 [received]; 2015/12/04 [accepted]; 2015/12/18 [epublish]; epublish