1 Department of Mental Health and Public Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Naples, Italy.
2 Infectious Disease Unit, AORN Caserta, Caserta, Italy.
Little data have been published so far on the epidemiological aspects of hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection in immigrant populations and even poorer is the information on the virological, phylogenetic, and clinical aspects of this infection in these populations. This review article, aimed primarily at physicians caring for immigrants, summarizes the information available on HDV infection and analyzes data on this topic concerning the immigrant populations.
METHODS AND RESULTS:
The prevalence of HDV infection in HBsAg-positive immigrants varies according to the country of origin. For example, in immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, this prevalence is higher in those born in Equatorial Guinea (24.4%) than those from other African countries (10.3%). The epidemiological impact of HDV infection linked to migratory flows is a function of the different endemicity between countries of origin and countries in which a new existence has been established. This impact is high when immigrants from areas endemic to HDV infection (eg, Equatorial Guinea) settle in areas of low endemicity (eg, Germany or England, with a prevalence of around 4%), while the impact is lesser or nonexistent if the migratory flows are directed toward countries with intermediate endemicity (eg, Italy and Greece, with a prevalence of around 10%).
This impact of immigration on HDV epidemiology can be strong when HDV endemicity is high in the country of origin and low in the host country and slight when immigrants move to high or medium endemic countries.