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PLOS ONE  2012 

Phylodynamics of Hepatitis C Virus Subtype 2c in the Province of Córdoba, Argentina

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019471

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The Hepatitis C Virus Genotype 2 subtype 2c (HCV-2c) is detected as a low prevalence subtype in many countries, except in Southern Europe and Western Africa. The current epidemiology of HCV in Argentina, a low-prevalence country, shows the expected low prevalence for this subtype. However, this subtype is the most prevalent in the central province of Córdoba. Cruz del Eje (CdE), a small rural city of this province, shows a prevalence for HCV infections of 5%, being 90% of the samples classified as HCV-2c. In other locations of Córdoba Province (OLC) with lower prevalence for HCV, HCV-2c was recorded in about 50% of the samples. The phylogenetic analysis of samples from Córdoba Province consistently conformed a monophyletic group with HCV-2c sequences from all the countries where HCV-2c has been sequenced. The phylogeographic analysis showed an overall association between geographical traits and phylogeny, being these associations significant (α = 0.05) for Italy, France, Argentina (places other than Córdoba), Martinique, CdE and OLC. The coalescence analysis for samples from CdE, OLC and France yielded a Time for the Most Common Recent Ancestor of about 140 years, whereas its demographic reconstruction showed a “lag” phase in the viral population until 1880 and then an exponential growth until 1940. These results were also obtained when each geographical area was analyzed separately, suggesting that HCV-2c came into Córdoba province during the migration process, mainly from Europe, which is compatible with the history of Argentina of the early 20th century. This also suggests that the spread of HCV-2c occurred in Europe and South America almost simultaneously, possibly as a result of the advances in medicine technology of the first half of the 20th century.


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