HDV is transmitted in the same way as HBV. HDV is blood borne. Transmission may thus occur through contact with infected human blood or other bodily fluids via permucosal or percutaneous injuries. It may also be transmitted through sexual intercourse, or rarely via perinatal routes. However, vertical transmission (passage of HDV from mother to baby) of HDV is unusual.
High-risk groups include intravenous drug abusers, promiscuous individuals, people exposed to unscreened blood or blood products and individuals on hemodialysis. Risk factors include tattooing and body piercing with contaminated needles and objects, sharing razors, reuse of syringes, and the use of unsterilized surgical and dental equipment. The aforementioned risky practices can lead to high rates of horizontal transmission.
Intrafamilial transmission through risky practices is noted to be common in endemic areas and may be responsible for the incidence of early infection in teens in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Indeed, an analysis of a dataset of 1576 patients in the The Hepatitis Delta International Network (HDIN) registry showed that the patients from South Asia and Eastern Europe (endemic areas) were found to be younger than their counterparts from Central Europe.
Author: Minaam Abbas