Gynaecological or cervical cancer remains a significant public health problem worldwide, a situation from which Ghana is not exempt. Human papilloma virus (HPV) is an important agent of pre-invasive and invasive cervical cancer. Currently, over 70 genotypes of the virus have been identified, of which twenty or more have actually been isolated from or are reportedly associated with female genital lesions. Anecdotal evidence suggest that clinical cases of cervical cancer in Ghana is on the ascendancy, but our knowledge of HPV genotypes responsible for cervical, vaginal and vulval lesions, as well as precancerous and invasive vaginal, vulval and cervical cancer in Ghanaian women is limited. Women of child-bearing age and of diverse background in the general population who patronized ante-natal services at the largest hospital in Ghana were invited to participate in a cross-sectional study to identify oncogenic HPV genotypes, if any, prevalent in healthy pregnant women. Out of ninety-three (93) samples analyzed, sixty (60) (64.5%) were positive for HPV infection. The HPV genotype profile was complex. Subjects infected with either high risk or low risk genotypes alone or concurrently with ‘others’, where “other” referred to genotypes that are ‘probably carcinogenic’ (HPV genotypes 26, 34, 53) or ‘probably high risk’ (53 and 66) for carcinogenesis were identified. Subjects with oncogenic HPV 16 and 18 infections were also identified in the study group, along with those having single to multiple infections. One had six HPV genotype sequences, while majority (n=26), representing 43.4% had infection with only one HPV genotype.
Key words: Human papilloma virus (HPV), cervical carcinogenesis, Ghana.
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