Antibodies to hepatitis E virus among several populations in Greece: increased prevalence in an hemodialysis unit (Journal article)

Dalekos, G. N./ Zervou, E./ Elisaf, M. S./ Germanos, N./ Galanakis, E./ Bourantas, K./ Siamopoulos, K. C./ Tsianos, E. V.

BACKGROUND: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) has been found to be the causative agent of enterically transmitted non-A, non-B hepatitis in tropical and subtropical countries. Several investigators, however, have indicated that HEV could be endemic in Europe, albeit at a low prevalence. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of anti-HEV in various populations in northwestern Greece (Epirus region). Healthy blood donors (2636), refugees from southern Albania (350), children (165), injecting drug users (IDUs) (65), multiply transfused patients (62), patients with chronic viral hepatitis (75), and chronic hemodialysis patients (149) were investigated for anti-HEV by enzyme immunoassay and confirmatory Western blot assay. In addition, 380 consecutive healthy blood donors and 62 hemodialysis patients from a neighboring area (Agrinion, Greece) were investigated. RESULTS: A very low presence of anti-HEV antibody was found among healthy blood donors from Epirus (0.23%) and Agrinion (0.53%). Anti-HEV was not detected in children, IDUs, or multiply transfused patients. In contrast, a low but significant prevalence of anti-HEV was found among refugees (4.85%), patients with chronic viral hepatitis (5.3%), and hemodialysis patients from Epirus (1.34%), as compared with healthy blood donors from Epirus: p < 0.0001, p < 0.00001, and p < 0.10, respectively. A high prevalence (9.7%) of anti-HEV was revealed in patients at the hemodialysis unit of the General Hospital of Agrinion (p < 0.00005, compared to healthy blood donors from Agrinion). No significant association was found between anti-HEV positivity and the age or sex of donors, the duration of hemodialysis, positivity for hepatitis B or C virus infection markers, history of hepatitis, increased alanine aminotransferase, renal transplantation, a history of transfusion, or the number of units transfused. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated a high prevalence of anti-HEV in a separate hemodialysis unit, without an association with the known routes of transmission of blood-borne viruses. This observation suggests that a still-undefined intra-unit factor or other factors are associated with HEV transmission.
Institution and School/Department of submitter: Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων. Σχολή Επιστημών Υγείας. Τμήμα Ιατρικής
Keywords: Adolescent,Adult,Aged,Aged, 80 and over,Child,Child, Preschool,Greece/epidemiology,*Hemodialysis Units, Hospital,Hepatitis Antibodies/*blood,Hepatitis E virus/*immunology,Humans,Infant,Infant, Newborn,Middle Aged,*Population Surveillance,Prevalence,Serologic Tests
ISSN: 0041-1132
Appears in Collections:Άρθρα σε επιστημονικά περιοδικά ( Ανοικτά)

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