Hepatitis E :: epidemiology
Xian-Feng Cheng, Yu-Feng Wen, Ming Zhu, Sheng-Wei Zhan, Jin-Xiu Zheng, Chen Dong, Ke-Xia Xiang, Xiao-Bing Xia, Gang Wang, Ling-Fei Han
Ma Anshan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Maanshan 243000, Anhui Province, China.
AIM To investigate the seroprevalence and molecular characteristics of hepatitis E virus (HEV) in the illegal blood donors (IBDs) of central China in the early 1990s. METHODS A total of 546 blood samples were collected from the IBDs in Maanshan city, a questionnaire was completed by each subject, detailing the age, sex, and periods of blood or plasma donation. Anhui Province and tested for the anti-HEV antibodies. The seropositive samples were subjected to nested reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and sequencing to analyze HEV partial genome. RESULTS The prevalence of IgG and IgM HEV antibody in IBDs was 22.7% and 1.8%, and genotype 4 was the dominant circulating HEV type in IBDs. The prevalence of anti-HEV IgG was significantly related to sex (OR = 4.905, P = 0.004) and increased with age (OR = 2.78, P = 0.022), which ranged from 13.0% in those < 40 years old to 30.6% among older persons aged > 60 years. Moreover, frequency of blood donation was significantly associated with HEV seropositivity (OR = 2.06, P = 0.006). HEV partial sequences of ORF2 and obtained 3 sequences in serum samples of 10 IBDs which developed HEV specific IgM. CONCLUSION This study helps define one of the possible routes of transmission of sporadic HEV infection and provides guidance to screen HEV in the blood donors so as to guarantee safe blood banks in China.
Most cited papers:
Hepatitis Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.
Hepatitis Branch, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Atlanta, Georgia.
Hepatitis types A, B, and C are the most important forms of viral hepatitis in the Unites States. High-risk sexual and drug use behavior have been associated with epidemics of hepatitis A and endemic transmission of both hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Immune globulin preparations and vaccines have been developed that effectively prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B. In the absence of such preventive measures, the prevention of hepatitis C will depend on a better understanding of the host and environmental factors that facilitate transmission of this disease.
Sporadic acute or fulminant hepatitis E in Hokkaido, Japan, may be food-borne, as suggested by the presence of hepatitis E virus in pig liver as food.
Yasuyuki Yazaki, Hitoshi Mizuo, Masaharu Takahashi, Tsutomu Nishizawa, Nobuhiko Sasaki, Yuhko Gotanda, Hiroaki Okamoto
Center for Gastroenterology, Kobayashi Hospital, Hokkaido 090-8567, Japan.
Among ten patients who contracted sporadic acute or fulminant hepatitis E between 2001 and 2002 in Hokkaido, Japan, nine (90 %) had a history of consuming grilled or undercooked pig liver 2-8 weeks before the disease onset. We tested packages of raw pig liver sold in grocery stores as food in Hokkaido for the presence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) RNA by RT-PCR. Pig liver specimens from seven (1.9 %) of 363 packages had detectable HEV RNA. Partial sequence analyses revealed that the seven swine HEV isolates belonged to genotype III or IV. One swine HEV isolate (swJL145) from a packaged pig liver had 100 % identity with the HE-JA18 isolate recovered from an 86-year-old patient in Hokkaido. Two swine HEV isolates (swJL234 and swJL325) had 98.5-100 % identity with the HE-JA4 isolate obtained from a 44-year-old patient in Hokkaido. These results indicate that inadequately cooked pig liver may transmit HEV to humans.
Solid-phase enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for hepatitis E virus IgG and IgM antibodies utilizing recombinant antigens and synthetic peptides.
Experimental Biology Research, Abbott Laboratories, North Chicago, Illinois 60064.
Four recombinant antigens representing two distinct antigenic domains from two different strains of hepatitis E virus (HEV), were used individually to develop four ELISAs designed to detect antibodies to HEV. Both IgG and IgM class antibodies to HEV were detected in 7 of 8 pedigreed serum/plasma from known outbreaks of HEV in Mexico, Burma, Somalia and Pakistan. In addition, specific HEV-antibodies were detected in cynomolgus macaques following inoculation with various HEV strains. Anti-HEV was also detected in 8 of 386 (2.1%) randomly selected American blood donors. Supplemental tests utilizing both synthetic peptides and specific blocking assays provided additional serologic data confirming the presence of anti-HEV. Similar prevalence studies on a limited number of available sera from other geographical regions (Alaska, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Thailand and Mexico) confirmed the presence of anti-HEV in at least 1.1 to 7.6% of the specimens.
National Institute of Virology, Indian Council of Medical Research, Pune.
The age-specific seroprevalence of antibody to hepatitis A virus (HAV) and antibody to hepatitis E virus (HEV) were studied in persons in Pune, India, where both viruses are endemic. The data showed that HAV infected the majority of persons by age 3 years and virtually 100% by late childhood. In contrast, infection with HEV was rare in children and did not reach peak prevalence (33%-40%) until early adulthood. The reason for the differences in infection rates between HAV and HEV is not known. Age-specific antibody patterns in serum samples obtained 10 years apart show that neither HAV nor HEV has diminished in medical importance in this Indian community.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a positive-stranded RNA virus with a 7.2 kb genome that is capped and polyadenylated. The virus is currently unclassified: the organisation of the genome resembles that of the Caliciviridae but sequence analyses suggest it is more closely related to the Togaviridae. Hepatitis E virus is an enterically transmitted virus that causes both epidemics and sporadic cases of acute hepatitis in many countries of Asia and Africa but only rarely causes disease in more industrialised countries. Initially the virus was believed to have a limited geographical distribution. However, serological studies suggest that HEV may be endemic also in the United States and Europe even though it infrequently causes overt disease in these countries. Many different animal species worldwide recently have been shown to have antibodies to HEV suggesting that hepatitis E may be zoonotic. Although two related strains have been experimentally transmitted between species, direct transmission from an animal to a human has not been documented. There are four currently recognised genotypes and two of the four contain viruses isolated from swine as well as from humans. Regardless of country of origin or genotype of the virus, most, if not all, strains belong to a single serotype. A promising recombinant vaccine candidate comprised of a truncated capsid protein is currently under evaluation in Nepal.
Prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis E virus in veterinarians working with swine and in normal blood donors in the United States and other countries.
Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0342, USA. email@example.com
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is endemic in many developing and some industrialized countries. It has been hypothesized that animals may be the source of infection. The recent identification of swine HEV in U.S. pigs and the demonstration of its ability to infect across species have lent credence to this hypothesis. To assess the potential risk of zoonotic HEV infection, we tested a total of 468 veterinarians working with swine (including 389 U.S. swine veterinarians) and 400 normal U.S. blood donors for immunoglobulin G anti-HEV. Recombinant capsid antigens from a U.S. strain of swine HEV and from a human HEV strain (Sar-55) were each used in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The anti-HEV prevalence assayed with the swine HEV antigen showed 97% concordance with that obtained with the human HEV antigen (kappa = 92%). Among the 295 swine veterinarians tested from the eight U.S. states (Minnesota, Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Alabama) from which normal blood donor samples were available, 26% were positive with Sar-55 antigen and 23% were positive with swine HEV antigen. In contrast, 18% of the blood donors from the same eight U.S. states were positive with Sar-55 antigen and 17% were positive with swine HEV antigen. Swine veterinarians in the eight states were 1.51 times more likely when tested with swine HEV antigen (95% confidence interval, 1.03 to 2.20) and 1.46 times more likely when tested with Sar-55 antigen (95% confidence interval, 0.99 to 2.17) to be anti-HEV positive than normal blood donors. We did not find a difference in anti-HEV prevalence between veterinarians who reported having had a needle stick or cut and those who had not or between those who spent more time (> or = 80% of the time) and those who spent less time (< or = 20% of the time) working with pigs. Similarly, we did not find a difference in anti-HEV prevalence according to four job categories (academic, practicing, student, and industry veterinarians). There was a difference in anti-HEV prevalence in both swine veterinarians and blood donors among the eight selected states, with subjects from Minnesota six times more likely to be anti-HEV positive than those from Alabama. Age was not a factor in the observed differences from state to state. Anti-HEV prevalence in swine veterinarians and normal blood donors was age specific and paralleled increasing age. The results suggest that swine veterinarians may be at somewhat higher risk of HEV infection than are normal blood donors.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco 94143.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is thought to be a cause of enterically transmitted non-A, non-B (ET-NANB) hepatitis. Waterborne epidemics have been recorded in many developing countries, mainly affecting young-to-middle-aged adults; sporadic infection and overt illness in children are rare. However, a convenient and sensitive diagnostic test for HEV infection is not yet available. We now report the use of a solid-phase enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) that detects IgM and IgG antibody to HEV. In a prospective study of endemic acute hepatitis during 1986 in rural Benha, Egypt, 15 (42%) of 36 children with NANB hepatitis (from whom convalescent-phase sera were available every 3 months to 9 or 12 months) were positive for anti-HEV-IgG by ELISA. Of 20 sera from healthy Benha children (controls), 5 (25%) were also positive for anti-HEV-IgG. When evaluated for anti-HEV-IgM, 6 of the 15 IgG-positive children, but none of the controls, were IgM positive and were thus regarded as having confirmed acute HEV infections. These 6 cases together with 2 presumptive cases (IgM negative, IgG seroconversion from positive to negative) presented sporadically over 9 months. This ELISA is a convenient method for the diagnosis of HEV infection; we have shown that the disease is present in Egypt, that it can occur endemically as sporadic cases, and that children do have overt infection.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
If the occurrence of hepatitis E virus antibody (anti-HEV) in regions where the disease is not endemic represents infection, rates may be greater in high-risk populations and behavioral correlates may reflect recognized transmission modes. Serum samples from 300 homosexual males, 300 injection drug users (IDUs), and 300 blood donors from Baltimore, Md., were tested for anti-HEV by enzyme immunoassay. Anti-HEV was found in an unexpectedly high percentage of homosexual men (15.9%) and IDUs (23.0%). However, anti-HEV was present in a similar proportion of blood donors (21.3%)(P > 0.05), while hepatitis A, B, and C virus antibodies were more prevalent in the high-risk groups (P < 0.001). Among homosexual men, anti-HEV was not significantly correlated with a history of hepatitis, high-risk sexual practices, or sexually transmitted infections, in contrast to hepatitis A and B antibodies. Among IDUs, anti-HEV was not significantly associated with a history of hepatitis or high-risk drug-using practices, as was found with hepatitis C antibodies. In a setting without endemic hepatitis E disease, there was no evidence that anti-HEV reflected subclinical infection. Until the basis for HEV seroreactivity in such areas is elucidated, anti-HEV results should be interpreted with caution.
Identity of a novel swine hepatitis E virus in Taiwan forming a monophyletic group with Taiwan isolates of human hepatitis E virus.
Liver Research Unit, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, School of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan. email@example.com
Recently, we found that more than 10% of the cases of acute non-A, non-B, non-C hepatitis in Taiwan were caused by a novel strain of hepatitis E virus (HEV). Since none of these patients had a history of travel to areas where HEV is endemic, the source of transmission remains unclear. The recent discovery of a swine HEV in herd pigs in the United States has led us to speculate that HEV may also circulate in herd pigs in Taiwan and may serve as a reservoir for HEV in Taiwan. Of 275 herd pigs obtained from 10 pig farms in Taiwan, 102 (37%) were seropositive for serum anti-HEV immunoglobulin G (IgG). A 185-bp genomic sequence within the ORF-2 of the HEV genome was amplified and cloned from serum samples of an anti-HEV positive pig and subsequently from serum samples of a patient with acute hepatitis E. Sequence comparison revealed that the swine and human isolates of HEV share 97.3% identity. Phylogenetic analyses further showed that the Taiwan swine and human isolates of HEV form a distinct branch divergent from all other known strains of HEV, including the U.S. swine strain. To examine the potential risk of cross-species transmission of swine HEV to humans, the seroprevalences of anti-HEV IgG in 30 swine handlers, 20 pork dealers, and 50 control subjects were assessed and were found to be 26.7, 15, and 8%, respectively (for swine handlers versus controls, P = 0.048). Our findings may help provide an understanding of the modes of HEV transmission and may also raise potential public health concerns for HEV zoonosis.