Although a new virus, GB virus C/hepatitis G virus (GBV-C/HGV), has been isolated from patients with hepatitis by two different research groups, its prevalence in the world and pathogenesis are still unknown. In this study, 92 samples from the Jewish population of Uzbekistan were investigated for the prevalence of GBV-C/HGV. GBV-C/ HGV RNA was detected by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using specific primers derived from the 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR). Sequences were analyzed by a molecular evolutionary method. Of 92 samples, GBV-C/HGV RNA was detected in ten (10.9%), HCV RNA was present in two (2.2%), and HBsAg in eight (8.7%), HTLV-I and HIV infection was not detected. Single GBV-C/HGV infection was detected in eight (80%), and co-infection with HBV or HCV was detected in only two of the GBV-C/HGV infections. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels were elevated in three (3.3%), but none with single GBV-C/HGV infection had an elevated ALT level. Nine people (90%) with CBV-C/HGV infection were distributed under the mean age of the population (P < 0.05). Molecular evolutionary analysis showed all GBV-C/HGV strains in this study were related to the HGV derived from the US. These results indicate that (1) GBV-C/HGV infection is highly prevalent among the Jewish population in Uzbekistan; (2) single GBV-C/HGV infections without persistent hepatitis are common; and (3) GBV-C/HGV infection is present among the younger generation.
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