The prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the United States (US) is relatively low. However, immigrant populations in the US from Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have substantially higher prevalence than the general population and are consequently at a significant risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Indeed, the age-adjusted incidence rates for HCC in the US have tripled from 1975 to 2005. As the population demographics have changed, the 2000 US census estimated the number of Somalis in Minnesota at 25,000 but current estimates put the number at around 50,000 due to primary refugee arrivals as well as secondary immigration from other states. There is no available data for Somali immigrants in the US on HBV and HCV prevalence, HBV and HCV genotypes/subgenotypes, and genetic and immunologic risk factors predisposing Somalis to HBV and HCV and the subsequent development of HCC. Therefore. this study will fill these gaps in the Somali population to understand the relative importance of HBV and HCV infections in causation of HCC. Besides Somalis, Minnesota is also home to large other African immigrant communities. According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), in 2013, the highest rates of chronic HBV cases where reported among Asian or Pacific Islanders (3,638 cases per 100,000 persons) followed by Black or African Americans (2,078 cases per 100,000 persons). Additionally, Minnesota receives a large number of new refugee's resettlement. It is important to improve the identification of chronic HBV and HCV infections among Somali refugees and immigrants in Minnesota through well-designed community-wide screening efforts. Since we know that African immigration to Minnesota is the third highest in the US, this unique population might be a contributing factor to the increased burden of hepatitis and liver cancer complications in the state of Minnesota. Findings from HBV and HCV screening among Somalis suggest that other immigrant African populations from high viral hepatitis endemic regions, such Ethiopia, Liberia, and Kenya, are also at substantial risk of HBV, HCV and HCC. Unfortunately, very little research has been conducted in the US on the burden of hepatitis and liver cancer in African Immigrants from areas of high endemicity of hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Therefore, the goal of is to identify HBV and HCV and the role viral genetics and immune response among African immigrant communities from Kenya, Liberia, and Ethiopia.
Ecologic or Community
There is one SNP
In the following Sub-Aims we will: - measure the expression levels of toll-like receptors (in monocytes) of the host innate immune response to assess whether the expression of TLR differs between those exposed to HBV vs HCV - measure the circulating Tregs of the host adaptive immune response to determine whether the abundance of Treg differs between those exposed to HBV vs HCV Specific Aim 3: To determine whether genetic variation of IL28B (assessed by single nucleotide polymorphisms, rs12979860 and others) is associated with HCV treatment outcome in Somalis.