Bayesian inference of the evolution of HBV/E

Iris E. Andernach, Oliver E. Hunewald, Claude P. Muller

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Despite its wide spread and high prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa, hepatitis B virus genotype E (HBV/E) has a surprisingly low genetic diversity, indicating an only recent emergence of this genotype in the general African population. Here, we performed extensive phylogeographic analyses, including Bayesian MCMC modeling. Our results indicate a mutation rate of 1.9×10-4 substitutions per site and year (s/s/y) and confirm a recent emergence of HBV/E, most likely within the last 130 years, and only after the transatlantic slave-trade had come to an end. Our analyses suggest that HBV/E originated from the area of Nigeria, before rapidly spreading throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Interestingly, viral strains found in Haiti seem to be the result of multiple introductions only in the second half of the 20th century, corroborating an absence of a significant number of HBV/E strains in West Africa several centuries ago. Our results confirm that the hyperendemicity of HBV(E) in today's Africa is a recent phenomenon and likely the result of dramatic changes in the routes of viral transmission in a relatively recent past.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere81690
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2013

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