[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection represents an emerging infection in developed countries and is thought to be a zoonotic infection. It has recently been described as a new causative agent of acute and chronic hepatitis in immunosuppressed subjects, including HIV-infected patients. The aim of this study was to assess the sero-virological prevalence of HEV in HIV patients and in the general population as control group.
A prospective and observational cohort study was carried out in two hospitals in southern Italy. The seroprevalence of HEV was determined in a cohort of 959 subjects, 509 (53%) of whom were HIV-positive patients and 450 were from the general population. Serum samples were tested for anti-HEV antibodies; repeatedly positive results were confirmed by a Western blot assay. In positive patients HEV RNA and genotypes were also determined.
A total of 46 (4.8%) of the 959 serum samples examined were reactive to anti-HEV Ig and confirmed by Western blotting. The prevalence of HEV antibodies (IgG and/or IgM) was 2.7% in the control group and 6.7% in HIV-infected patients. Anti-HEV IgM was found in 6/46 (13.0%) of the anti-HEV Ig-positive serum samples, in 5/34 HIV patients and in 1/12 of the general population. No HIV-infected patient presented chronic hepatitis with HEV infection alone.
This study indicates a higher circulation of HEV in HIV-infected patients, whereas a low prevalence of HEV antibodies in the general Italian population was shown. Chronic hepatitis with HEV alone was absent, while it was present in subjects with HIV-HEV, co-infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and/or hepatitis C virus (HCV).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the serovirological prevalence and clinical features of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection in end-stage renal failure patients and in the healthy population.
HEV infection is a viral disease that can cause sporadic and epidemic hepatitis. Previous studies unexpectedly showed a high prevalence of HEV antibodies in immunosuppressed subjects, including hemodialysis (HD) patients and patients who had undergone kidney transplant. A cohort/case-control study was carried out from January 2012 to August 2013 in two hospitals in southern Italy (Foggia and S. Giovanni Rotondo, Apulia). The seroprevalence of HEV was determined in 801 subjects; 231 HD patients, 120 renal transplant recipients, and 450 health individuals. All HD patients and the recipients of renal transplants were attending the Departments of Nephrology and Dialysis at two hospitals located in Southern Italy, and were included progressively in this study. Serum samples were tested for HEV antibodies (IgG/IgM); in the case of positivity they were confirmed by a Western blot assay and were also tested for HEV-RNA, and the HEV genotypes were determined.
A total of 30/801 (3.7%) patients were positive for anti-HEV Ig (IgG and/or IgM) and by Western blot. The healthy population presented with a prevalence of 2.7%, HD patients had a prevalence of 6.0%, and transplant recipients had a prevalence of 3.3%. The overall combined HEV-positive prevalence in the two groups with chronic renal failure was 5.1%. The rates of exposure to HEV (positivity of HEV-IgG/M in the early samples) were lower in the healthy controls, but the difference among the three groups was not statistically significant (P > 0.05). Positivity for anti-HEV/IgM was detected in 4/30 (13.33%) anti-HEV Ig positive individuals, in 2/14 HD patients, in 1/4 transplant individuals, and in 1/12 of the healthy population. The relative risk of being HEV-IgM-positive was significantly higher among transplant recipients compared to the other two groups (OR = 65.4, 95%CI: 7.2-592.7, P < 0.001), but the subjects with HEV-IgM positivity were numerically too few to calculate a significant difference. No patient presented with chronic hepatitis from HEV infection alone.
This study indicated a higher, but not significant, circulation of HEV in hemodialysis patients vs the healthy population. Chronic hepatitis due to the HEV virus was not observed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) represents the main aetiological agent of enteric non-A hepatitis and is the only member of a new virus, Hepevirus, belonging to the family of Hepeviridae. HEV is the single most important cause of acute clinical hepatitis among adults in many areas of the developing world, specifically the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, where it is a common cause of sporadic and epidemic waterborne outbreaks and results in a high rate of morbidity and death, especially in pregnant women. Once thought of as an infection confined to developing countries, it is now recognized as a geographically widely distributed disease. In low-endemic regions (Western countries), sporadic cases of locally-acquired HEV infection are reported, acquired possibly through zoonotic transmission from pigs, wild boars or deer. In persons with pre-existing chronic liver disease, HEV superinfection can present as acute-on-chronic liver disease. In European countries, chronic infection, which may progress to liver cirrhosis, has been reported among immunosuppressed persons. Two testing vaccines proved to be highly effective in preventing the disease; these vaccines should be of particular use in groups that are at high risk of HEV infection.
No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Le infezioni in medicina: rivista periodica di eziologia, epidemiologia, diagnostica, clinica e terapia delle patologie infettive
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY In this study we assessed the seroprevalence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection in both the Italian population and immigrants from developing countries in Foggia (Apulia, Southern Italy). The seroprevalence of HEV was determined in 1217 subjects [412 (34%) immigrants and 805 Italian subjects (blood donors, general population, HIV-positive, haemodialysis patients)]. Serum samples were tested for anti-HEV and confirmed by Western blot assay; in positive patients HEV RNA and genotype were also determined. There were 8·8% of patients that were positive to anti-HEV, confirmed by Western blot. The prevalence in immigrants was 19·7%, and in Italians 3·9% (blood donors 1·3%, general population 2·7%, HIV-positive patients 2·0%, haemodialysis patients 9·6%). Anti-HEV IgM was found in 38/107 (35·5%) of the anti-HEV-positive serum samples (34 immigrants, four Italians). This study indicates a higher circulation of HEV in immigrants and Italian haemodialysis patients, whereas a low prevalence of HEV antibodies was seen in the remaining Italian population.
Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Epidemiology and Infection
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, different interleukins have been associated with responses to PEGylated interferon and ribavirin and spontaneous clearance of acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection (interleukin [IL]-28B) or with the development of a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for HCV infection (IL-27). IL-27 is a helical cytokine belonging to the IL-6/IL-12 cytokine family with a broad range of anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies demonstrated that IL-27 stimulates hepatoma cells and hepatocytes by inducing a sustained signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT1 and STAT3) activation. Moreover, IL-27 induces interferon-α-like responses including the induction of antiviral genes (ribonucleic acid-dependent protein kinase), oligoadenylate synthetase, and myxovirus protein. In this review we examine the research on IL-27 and its potential role in therapy for HCV, including the capability to inhibit replication of HCV.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · International Journal of Interferon, Cytokine and Mediator Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: aims
. This study aims to determine the distribution and clinical features of HBV-genotypes in a population of immigrants affected by HBV-infection.
. Between 01/2003 and 03/2009, 1623 immigrants were tested for HBV-infection. Biochemical and virological activities were determined in HBsAg-positive patients; HBV-genotypes were determined, by the INNO-LiPA HBV Genotyping, in the subjects with HBV DNA detectable. In every patient we evaluated the stage and classified the infection as inactive carrier, mild or moderate/severe chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and/or HCC.
. Among the tested subjects, 191 (11.7%) resulted HBsAg-positive, and in 144/191 (75.4%) serum HBV-DNA was detectable. The genotype distribution was as follows: 45,13% genotype E, 18,1% genotype D, 15,3% genotype B, 13,2% genotype C, 4,9% genotype A, 3,5% mixed genotypes (A–D). The evaluation of liver disease degree showed that 24.6% patients were inactive carriers of HBV infection, 19.4% presented a immunotolerance phase, 34.5% had mild chronic hepatitis, 13.6% had a moderate/severe chronic hepatitis, 6.3% had cirrhosis, and 1.6% presented HCC.
. Our study evidences a high prevalence of HBV-infection in immigrants, and the potentiality of migratory flow in the introduction of genotype non-D hepatitis B virus. The Hepatitis B virus genotypes presented significant differences in epidemiological and clinical characteristics.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2010 · Hepatitis research and treatment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria is one of the most important infectious diseases in the world. Although most cases occur in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Central and South America, there is in Europe a significant increase in the number of imported cases in non-endemic countries, in particular due to the higher mobility in today's society. The prevalence of a possible asymptomatic infection with Plasmodium species was assessed using Nucleic Acid Sequence Based Amplification (NASBA) assays on clinical samples collected from 195 study cases with no clinical signs related to malaria and coming from sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, base-line demographic, clinical and socio-economic information was collected from study participants who also underwent a full clinical examination. Sixty-two study subjects (31.8%) were found positive for Plasmodium using a pan Plasmodium specific NASBA based on the small subunit 18S rRNA gene (18S NASBA). Twenty-four samples (38%) of the 62 positive study cases were found positive with a Pfs25 mRNA NASBA, which specifically detects gametocytes of Plasmodium falciparum. This study showed that a substantial proportion of people originating from malaria endemic countries harbour malaria parasites in their blood. If transmission conditions are available, they could be a reservoir.
No preview · Article · Mar 2010 · Le infezioni in medicina: rivista periodica di eziologia, epidemiologia, diagnostica, clinica e terapia delle patologie infettive
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the agreement between QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube test (QFT-GIT) and tuberculin skin test (TST) for the screening of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in recent immigrants to Italy, 279 subjects were submitted to concomitant TST and QFT-GIT. The agreement was analyzed using k statistics. A total of 72/279 (25.8%) individuals were TST positive, while 107/279 (38.3%) were QFT-GIT positive. The overall agreement between QFT-GIT and TST was 70.9%, with k statistic of 0.35. Using different TST and QFT-GIT cut-offs, the best concordance value was obtained for QFT-GIT at > 2.64 IU/ml and TST at > 10mm (k = 0.409). Discordant results were found for 58 subjects (21%) with QFT-GIT positive/TST negative and 23 (8%) with QFT-GIT negative/TST positive. A high amount of discordance QFT-GIT+/TST- was described. QFT-GIT might increase the identification of LTBI cases among recent immigrants.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2009 · The New Microbiologica: official journal of the Italian Society for Medical Virology (SIVIM)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria is one of the most important infectious diseases in the world. Although most cases are found distributed in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Central and South Americas, there is in Europe a significant increase in the number of imported cases in non-endemic countries, in particular due to the higher mobility in today's society.
The prevalence of a possible asymptomatic infection with Plasmodium species was assessed using Nucleic Acid Sequence Based Amplification (NASBA) assays on clinical samples collected from 195 study cases with no clinical signs related to malaria and coming from sub-Saharan African regions to Southern Italy. In addition, base-line demographic, clinical and socio-economic information was collected from study participants who also underwent a full clinical examination.
Sixty-two study subjects (31.8%) were found positive for Plasmodium using a pan Plasmodium specific NASBA which can detect all four Plasmodium species causing human disease, based on the small subunit 18S rRNA gene (18S NASBA). Twenty-four samples (38%) of the 62 18S NASBA positive study cases were found positive with a Pfs25 mRNA NASBA, which is specific for the detection of gametocytes of Plasmodium falciparum. A statistically significant association was observed between 18S NASBA positivity and splenomegaly, hepatomegaly and leukopaenia and country of origin.
This study showed that a substantial proportion of people originating from malaria endemic countries harbor malaria parasites in their blood. If transmission conditions are available, they could potentially be a reservoir. Therefore, health authorities should pay special attention to the health of this potential risk group and aim to improve their health conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The efficacy and tolerability of Peg-Interferon alpha-2a (Peg-IFNalpha-2a) versus Peg-Interferon alpha-2b (Peg-IFNalpha-2b) were compared in a patient cohort with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related active chronic hepatitis, unresponsive to previous antiviral treatment with standard IFN (6 MU three times/week) plus ribavirin (10.6 mg/kg/day) for a period of at least 3 months.
A total of 143 patients were enrolled and randomized into two treatment groups (A-B). Group A (71 patients) received one vial of Peg-IFNalpha-2a weekly (180 microg) subcutaneously whereas Group B (72 patients) received 1.5 microg/kg of Peg-IFNalpha-2b weekly subcutaneously. Interferon was combined with ribavirin (15 mg/kg/day) in both groups and all patients who demonstrated nondetectable HCV-RNA or a >or=2(log) reduction in viral load at week 12, were treated for 48 weeks, with a 24-week follow up.
Group A (10/71) and Group B (8/72) patients discontinued treatment due to severe side effects. At the end of therapy, HCV-RNA was undetectable in 17/71 (23.9%) Group A and in 19/72 (26.4%) of Group B patients. When terminating follow up, a sustained virological response was observed in 14/71 in Group A (19.7%) and 13/72 in Group B (18.0%).
Within the limits of the relatively small sample size, Peg-IFNalpha-2a and Peg-IFNalpha-2b demonstrated nonstatistically significant differences in effectiveness in patients nonresponsive to previous antiviral treatment.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2008 · Journal of interferon & cytokine research: the official journal of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this randomized open-label study was to assess the efficacy of treatment with pegylated interferon-alpha-2a versus pegylated interferon-alpha-2b, both plus ribavirin, in inducing early and sustained virological response (EVR and SVR) in chronic hepatitis C non-responders.
A total of 108 patients with chronic hepatitis C who were non-responders to previous combined therapy (standard interferon-alpha plus ribavirin for > or = 3 months) were enrolled and equally randomized into two groups in this intention-to-treat analysis. The patients exhibited similar baseline features. One group received subcutaneous pegylated interferon-alpha-2a 180 microg once weekly, while the other was treated with subcutaneous pegylated interferon-alpha-2b 1.5 microg/kg once weekly. Ribavirin 15 mg/kg/day was included in both protocols. Treatment duration for EVR was 12 weeks. Patients who demonstrated non-detectable hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA or a > or = 2 log(10) reduction in viral load at week 12 continued therapy up to 48 weeks, with assessments every 3 months during a follow-up of 24 weeks.
All patients in both groups completed the EVR study, then seven patients receiving pegylated interferon-alpha-2a and seven patients receiving pegylated interferon-alpha2b discontinued treatment as a result of severe adverse effects. After 12 weeks of treatment, viral load reduction was >2 log(10) with both pegylated interferon-alpha-2a (-2.53) and pegylated interferon-alpha-2b (-2.48) with no significant difference. At the end of week 48, HCV RNA was undetectable in 14 of 54 patients (25.9%) receiving pegylated interferon-alpha-2a and in 15 of 54 patients (27.7%) receiving pegylated interferon-alpha-2b. When terminating follow-up, an SVR was observed in 11 of 54 patients (20.4%) who received pegylated interferon-alpha-2a and 10 of 54 patients (18.4%) receiving pegylated interferon-alpha-2b. The incidence and severity of adverse events was similar in both groups.
Our results seem to show that in chronic hepatitis C patients who are non-responsive to previous therapy, EVR to the two pegylated interferons did not significantly differ with a similar therapeutic efficacy defined as SVR.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of our study was to assess the efficacy and tolerability of lamivudine alone versus lamivudine plus alpha-interferon for treatment of chronic active hepatitis B, anti-HBe positive. In all, 59 patients were randomly divided into 3 groups: A) 21 patients received lamivudine at 100 mg/daily orally for 52 weeks; B) 20 patients received lamivudine at 100 mg/die plus alpha-interferon at 6 MU subcutaneously three times weekly for 52 weeks; C) 18 patients received the same combination therapy for 40 weeks after pre-treatment with lamivudine for 12 weeks. The complete sustained response in the three groups was 33.3% vs 35.0% vs 33.3%, respectively. Our study demonstrates that in anti-HBe positive chronic hepatitis B a 12-month course of lamivudine plus a-interferon combination therapy is as beneficial as lamivudine monotherapy. Moreover, the combination therapy for 40 weeks after pre-treatment with lamivudine for 12 weeks did not increase the sustained response.
No preview · Article · Oct 2006 · Le infezioni in medicina: rivista periodica di eziologia, epidemiologia, diagnostica, clinica e terapia delle patologie infettive
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the prevalence of cryoglobulinemia in three groups of patients: HCV-positive/HIV-negative, HCV/HIV co-infected and HIV mono-infected.
From September 2002 to December 2003, 58 patients with documented HCV infection, 70 subjects with HIV/HCV co-infection, and 48 subjects with HIV infection alone were enrolled. Serum samples were tested for detectable cryoglobulins, liver enzymes, HCV viral load and HCV genotypes. Plasma HIV-RNA levels and CD4+ cell count were also evaluated in HIV-positive subjects.
Cryoglobulinemia was detected in 24.1% HCV mono-infected, 14.2% HCV/HIV co-infected and 6% HIV mono-infected patients. A significant statistical correlation was found between the presence of cryoglobulins and HCV infection (P = 0.03), while cryoglobulins were unrelated to HIV mono-infection (P = 0.16) and HCV/HIV co-infection (P=0.7). No significant correlation was observed between the presence of cryoglobulinemia and alanine transaminase (ALT) levels, HCV viremia and duration of HCV infection. Circulating cryoglobulins in HIV patients were not correlated with plasma HIV viral load, CD4+ cell count or duration of HIV infection. Only two HCV mono-infected patients complained of arthralgia.
A similar rate of cryoglobulinemia prevalence was detected in the patient groups with an HCV-related infection. HIV infection does not appear to play a significant role in cryoglobulin production.
No preview · Article · May 2006 · The Journal of infection