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HDV Epidemiology Global

       Detected in the hepatocytes of patients suffering with chronic type B hepatitis, hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is a natural subviral satellite for hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus was first identified by Mario Rizzetto, an Italian physician. Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is primarily transmitted through blood, unprotected sexual contact and percutaneous injections.

        Considered as a defective virus, HDV is a single-stranded RNA virus that shows similarities with the viroids in plants. The most unique feature of HDV is that this virus is found associated only with patients who have been suffering with the severe forms of hepatitis B. The virus requires help from HBV in the form of a helper virus so as to generate its surface protein. HDV is usually acquired as a HBV co-infection or as a super-infection of an already HBV-infected individual.

        Epidemiological distribution of hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is similar to HBV. According to seroprevalence studies using anti-HDV antibodies on serum samples of HBs-Ag-positive patients, it has been found that hepatitis delta virus is found worldwide, but is not equally distributed.

        Different epidemiological patterns exist for HDV including those in Mediterranean region, central Africa, Western Europe, Amazon Basin and North America. Around 10 million people are infected around the world with HDV. Low incidence of HDV infections have been recently identified in parts of Japan, China, North India and Albania. Regions considered to be highly prone to HDV infections include Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil and Peru.

         Incidence of HDV infections is directly proportional to HBV infections. HDV incidence is low when HBV infection is low. Fulminant hepatitis is more common in patients infected with HDV.

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