Detection and genotyping of human papillomavirus in urine samples from unvaccinated male and female adolescents in Italy

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The introduction of vaccination against Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in adolescent girls in 2006 has focused virological surveillance on this age group. As few studies have evaluated HPV infections in young populations, further data are needed in order to improve and extend prophylactic policy and to monitor epidemiological changes. The present study aimed at evaluating overall and type-specific HPV prevalence in both female and male adolescents in Italy. HPV DNA detection and genotyping was performed on urine samples collected from 870 unvaccinated adolescents (369 females, 501 males, 11-18 years of age) in five cities in Italy. Following DNA extraction by means of a commercial kit (NucliSENS® -miniMAG®, bioMérieux), the L1 gene fragment was PCR amplified and genotyped by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. HPV DNA was detected in 1.5% of all samples, and in 3% and 0.4% of samples from females and males, respectively. In approximately 70% of HPV DNA positive adolescents, the infection was due to a single genotype, with 88.9% of genotypes belonging to the HR-clade. The only two HPVpositive boys (14 and 18 years old) had HPV-70 genotype. Only one of the 11 HPV-infected girls was in the 11-14 age-group. HPV prevalence was 4.2% in girls aged 15-18 years and 60% of infections were due to vaccine types HPV-16 or HPV-6/-11. This is one of the few studies, the first conducted in Italy, on HPV infection in adolescents. Urine testing is the easier way of detecting HPV infection in younger populations. Our data revealed a very low HPV prevalence, and no infections were observed in the 12-year-old vaccine target population. The majority of infections were seen in females aged 15-18 years. Overall, more than 50% and 30% of the potentially persistent HPV infections detected in this group could have been prevented by the quadrivalent and the bivalent vaccines, respectively. © 2013 Bianchi et al.




Bianchi, S., Frati, E. R., Panatto, D., Martinelli, M., Amicizia, D., Zotti, C. M., … Tanzi, E. (2013). Detection and genotyping of human papillomavirus in urine samples from unvaccinated male and female adolescents in Italy. PLoS ONE, 8(11).

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