High prevalence of anti-hepatitis E virus antibodies in blood donors from South West France

Virology Laboratory, Purpan University Hospital, Toulouse Cedex 9, France.
Journal of Medical Virology (Impact Factor: 2.22). 02/2008; 80(2):289-93. DOI: 10.1002/jmv.21056
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cases of autochthonous acute hepatitis E occur in most industrialized countries and are frequent in the South West of France. The prevalence of anti-hepatitis E virus (HEV) IgG antibodies in blood donors in this area was determined. A total of 529 samples from rural and urban blood donors were tested. The overall prevalence was 16.6%, 19.1% of rural donors and 14.2% of urban donors had anti-HEV antibodies (P = 0.13). The antibodies were widely distributed among all age groups and the sex ratio of the anti-HEV positive blood donors was 1.12 (P = 0.57). Hunting was the only pastime or profession associated with a high prevalence of anti-HEV antibodies (P = 0.038). The frequency of anti-HEV antibodies in blood donors could reflect active autochthonous transmission in this area of France. As the risk factors for HEV infection in industrialized countries are still unknown, further studies are needed to clarify the epidemiology of HEV infection in the Midi-Pyrénées region.

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    • "There is evidence indicating that HEV-3 infection can be transmitted by undercooked offal or meat, which highlights the zoonotic nature of the infection (Hoofnagle et al., 2012). The prevalence of HEV antibodies is high in developed countries (21% in the US and 7% in Europe, with a maximum of 16% in the area of Toulouse in France) (Kuniholm et al., 2009; Mansuy et al., 2008), thus suggesting a possibly low rate of symptomatic infections associated with genotype 3. In Italy, the prevalence of anti-HEV antibodies is 3–6%, with autochthonous (not travel related) cases mainly due to genotype 3 representing about 16% of the annually reported cases (Romano et al., 2013). "
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    • "In our case, the temporal association between acute hepatitis E and GBS strongly suggested a relation between both disorders. Hepatitis E has become an emerging cause of acute hepatitis in western countries (Dalton et al. 2008; Mansuy 2008) The most frequent risk factors for hepatitis E, reported in a French survey, where water consumption from a personal water supply, uncooked shellfish consumption, and the recent acquisition of a pet pig (Renou et al. 2008). Association of GBS with viral hepatitis has been described. "
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    • "In developed countries, the seroprevalence of anti-HEV IgG was estimated to range from 7% to 21% (Buti et al., 2006; Dalton et al., 2007a; Ijaz et al., 2009; Kuniholm et al., 2009; Mansuy et al., 2008; Tanaka et al., 2005), and in China, the seroprevalence among blood donors was found to be as high as 33% (Guo et al., 2010), while that in a rural Bangladesh population was 23% (Labrique et al., 2009). It is remarkable that these relatively high antibody detection rates are achieved in spite of waning immunity and antibody decay following primary HEV infection. "
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