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Abstract

Prevalence of anti-hepatitis E virus (HEV) antibodies is highly variable in developed countries, which seems partly due to differences in assay sensitivity. Using validated sensitive assays, we tested 313 blood donors attending a hospital transfusion unit in central Italy in January and February 2014 for anti-HEV IgG and IgM and HEV RNA. Data on HEV exposure were collected from all donors. Overall anti-HEV IgG prevalence was 49% (153/313). Eating raw dried pig-liver sausage was the only independent predictor of HEV infection (adjusted prevalence rate ratio = 2.14; 95% confidence interval: 1.23–3.74). Three donors were positive for either anti-HEV IgM (n = 2; 0.6%) or HEV RNA (n = 2; 0.6%); they were completely asymptomatic, without alanine aminotransferase (ALT) abnormalities. Of the two HEV RNA-positive donors (both harbouring genotype 3), one was anti-HEV IgG- and IgM-positive, the other was anti-HEV IgG- and IgM-negative. The third donor was positive for anti-HEV IgG and IgM but HEV RNA-negative. HEV infection is therefore hyperendemic among blood donors (80% men 18–64 years-old) from central Italy and associated with local dietary habits. Nearly 1% of donors have acute or recent infection, implying potential transmission to blood recipients. Neither ALT nor anti-HEV IgM testing seems useful to prevent transfusion-transmitted HEV infection.

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/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2016.21.30.30299
2016-07-28
2017-12-12
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2016.21.30.30299
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