Background: Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) infection is associated with accelerated progression of fibrosis, early occurrence of hepatic decompensation and an increased risk for hepatocellular carcinoma. Epidemiological data on hepatitis delta virus (HDV) in Romania are still lacking. Aim: To assess the prevalence, virological, clinical and epidemiological features of HDV infection in Romanian patients.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter study in 10 centers. Data on sociodemographic characteristics and potential risk factors were collected through a questionnaire. Virological markers of HBV and HDV infection, biochemical and clinical features of liver disease were evaluated.

Results: The study population comprised 2,761 HBsAg(+) patients with a mean age of 43.8±13.8 years, out of whom 5.2% were HBeAg(+) and 55.7% were males. Liver cirrhosis was detected in 17.9% of patients, while 80.4% had chronic hepatitis. The prevalence of IgG anti-HDV(+) patients was 23.1%, out of whom 16.4% were HDV RNA positive. The highest prevalence of HDV infection was encountered in patients aged 50-59 years (28.9%) and patients aged ≥60 (24.8%) (p=0.0001). Seroprevalence of HDV was significantly higher in AgHBs(+) cirrhotics vs. noncirrhotics (43.4% vs 19.0%, p=0.0001). Risk factors for HDV infection were: occupational hazard, no HCV chronic infection, lack of anti-HBV vaccination, presence of blood transfusions, any previous surgery, frequent hospitalization or endoscopies, tattoos, body piercing, use of glass syringes, number of female sexual partners.

Conclusions: HBsAg(+) population in Romania is characterized by a high prevalence of HBeAg(-) HBV infection as well as HDV co-infection. A cohort phenomenon for HDV prevalence is also observed similar to that of HCV/HBV monoinfections.


hepatitis D (delta) virus, chronic hepatitis, prevalence, risk factors