Prevalence, correlates, and viral dynamics of hepatitis delta among injection drug users

Lauren M. Kucirka, Homayoon Farzadegan, Jordan J. Feld, Shruti H. Mehta, Mark Winters, Jeffrey S. Glenn, Gregory D. Kirk, Dorry L. Segev, Kenrad E. Nelson, Morgan Marks, Theo Heller, Elizabeth T. Golub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Most hepatitis delta virus (HDV) prevalence estimates from the United States are >10 years old, and HDV has shown significant temporal variation in other populations. HDV-hepatitis B virus (HBV) dual infection progresses rapidly, has more complications, and has a different treatment regimen than HBV infection alone. Accurate estimates of prevalence and risk factors are important to help clinicians decide who to screen. Methods: Injection drug users in Baltimore, Maryland, who were positive for HBV serologic markers were tested for hepatitis delta antibody (HDAb) at 2 time periods: 1988-1989 (194 participants) and 2005-2006 (258 participants). Those who were HDAb positive in 2005-2006, plus a random sample of HDAb negative, HBVpositive participants were tested for HDV RNA, HBV DNA, and HCV RNA. Characteristics associated with HDV exposure and viremia were identified. Results: HDV prevalence declined from 15% in 1988-1989 to 11% in 2005-2006. Among those with chronic HBV infection, prevalence increased from 29% (14 of 48 participants) to 50% (19 of 38 participants) (Pp.05). Visiting a "shooting gallery" (a location where people gather to inject illegal drugs) was a strong correlate of HDAb positivity (relative risk, 3.08; Pp.01). Eight (32%) of those who were HDAb positive had HDV viremia. Viremic participants had elevated liver enzyme levels and more emergency room visits. Conclusions: The temporal increase in HDV prevalence among those with chronic HBV infection is troubling; understanding this change should be a priority to prevent the burden from increasing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-852
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence, correlates, and viral dynamics of hepatitis delta among injection drug users'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this