HCV genotype 4 is prevalent in many African countries, yet little is known about the genotype׳s epidemic history on the continent. We present a comprehensive study of the molecular epidemiology of genotype 4. To address the deficit of data from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) we PCR amplified 60 new HCV isolates from the DRC, resulting in 33 core- and 48 NS5B-region sequences. Our data, together with genotype 4 database sequences, were analysed using Bayesian phylogenetic approaches. We find three well-supported intra-genotypic lineages and estimate that the genotype 4 common ancestor existed around 1733 (1650-1805). We show that genotype 4 originated in central Africa and that multiple lineages have been exported to north Africa since ~1850, including subtype 4a which dominates the epidemic in Egypt. We speculate on the causes of the historical intra-continental spread of genotype 4, including population movements during World War 2.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.virol.2014.07.006

Type

Journal article

Journal

Virology

Publication Date

09/2014

Volume

464-465

Pages

233 - 243

Keywords

Africa, DRC, Egypt, Hepatitis C, Molecular clock, Molecular epidemiology, Phylogeny, Prevalence, Skyline plot, Adult, Africa, Aged, Evolution, Molecular, Female, Hepacivirus, Hepatitis C, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeny, Phylogeography, Young Adult