1Department of Mental Health and Public Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Second University of Naples, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Via: L. Armanni 5, 80131, Naples, Italy.
2Medical Center, Centro Sociale ex Canapificio, Caserta, Italy.
3Medical Center, Centro di Accoglienza "La Tenda di Abramo", Caserta, Italy.
4Medical Center, Centro per la Tutela Della Salute Degli Immigrati, Naples, Italy.
5Medical Center, Centro Suore Missionarie Della Carità, Naples, Italy.
6Medical Center, Centro Borgoroma, Foggia, Italy.
7Infectious Diseases Unit, Foggia, Italy.
8Infectious Diseases Unit, AORN Sant'Anna e San Sebastiano, Caserta, Italy.
9Department of Mental Health and Public Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Second University of Naples, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Via: L. Armanni 5, 80131, Naples, Italy. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background: Since few data are available in the literature on the prevalence of anti-Delta-positive subjects in immigrant populations, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the demographic and virological characteristics of HDV infection in a large cohort of immigrants living in southern Italy.
Methods: Between January 2012 and February 2020 all immigrants attending one of the 5 first- level centers were enrolled and screened for HBsAg, the HBsAg-positive for anti-Delta and if positive, for HDV-RNA and HDV genotype.
Results: Of the 3521 immigrants observed in the study period, 3417 (97.0%) agreed to be screened; they were mainly males (61%), with a median age of 27 years (IQR 8-74) and came prevalently (58%) from sub-Saharan Africa. Of the 3417 patients enrolled, 319 (9%) subjects were HBsAg-positive, and of those, 8 (2.5%) were anti-Delta-positive. No difference in the demographic and epidemiological characteristics was observed between the anti-Delta-negative vs -positive. Of the 8 anti-Delta-positive subjects, only one was HDV-RNA-positive (viral load: 7050 IU/mL), genotype 1, with clinical signs of cirrhosis.
Conclusions: the present study showed a prevalence of HDV of 2.5% in a large cohort of asymptomatic immigrants, suggesting the need for screening campaigns for viral infections including delta hepatitis in this population.