The aim of this study was to determine the predominant hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype in the Solomon Islands and determine if there is any racial correlation between genotype and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) production in Japanese and Melanesian individuals. A total of 403 serum samples from 206 Melanesian HBV carriers in the Solomon Islands and 197 Japanese carriers from Fukuoka (n = 106) and Okinawa (n = 91) living in Japan in 2001 were tested. The HBV genotypes of 206 Melanesian subjects were 114 with genotype C (55.3%) and 92 with genotype D (44.7%). The HBV genotypes of 197 Japanese subjects were 74 with genotype B (37.6%) and 123 with genotype C (62.4%). The total HBeAg prevalence of subjects in Fukuoka (36.8%) was significantly higher than that of subjects in Okinawa (14.3%) (P < 0.0001) and subjects in the Solomon Islands (35.0%; P = 0.0014, by the Mantel-Haenszel test). The genotype C prevalences were significantly different, ranging from 24.2% in Okinawa, to 54.4% in the Solomon Islands, to 95.3% in Fukuoka (all P < 0.0001, by chi-square test). The prevalence of HBeAg positivity was significantly higher in Melanesian genotype C subjects (42.0%) than Melanesian genotype D subjects (26.6%) (P = 0.0310). Similarly, the prevalence of HBeAg positivity was significantly higher in Japanese genotype C subjects (36.6%) than Japanese genotype B subjects (9.5%) (P < 0.0001). These findings indicate that that HBV was of genotypes C and D in the Solomon Islands, and that the pathogenesis of HBV-infected patients is related to HBV genotype rather than race.
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