Abstract: Fulminant hepatitis among different clinical outcomes of hepatitis B virus infection is very rare and manifests high mortality rate, however it has not been investigated in Belgian inhabitants yet. In the frame of a retrospective study between 1995 and 2010, 80 serum samples (in some cases serial samples) archived in Biobank, were collected from 24 patients who had clinically developed fulminant infection of hepatitis B virus. In total, 33 hepatitis B virus (HBV) strains (31 full-length genome and 2 partial viral genes) of different HBV genotypes and subgenotypes including A2, B2, D1, D2, D3 and E, were amplified, sequenced and phylogenetically analyzed. HBV isolated strains from native and exotic patients were characterized by genome variations associated with viral invasiveness. Although several mutations at nucleotide and protein levels were detected, evolutionary analyses revealed a negative selective pressure over the viral genomes. This study revealed influence of immigration through a steady change in the viral epidemiological profile of the Belgian population.
Thomas Mina, Samad Amini-Bavil-Olyaee, Elham Shivrani-Dastgerdi, Nidia Sequeira Trovao, Marc Van Ranst, Mahmoud Reza Pourkarim