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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2001 Jan;96(1):25-9.

Hepatitis E virus infection in selected Brazilian populations.

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Departamento de Virologia, Instituto de Microbiologia Prof. Paulo de Góes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.


A retrospective study on the prevalence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection was conducted in selected populations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A total of 1,115 subjects were tested including 146 patients with acute Non-A Non-B Non-C (NANBNC) viral hepatitis, 65 hemodialysis patients, 93 blood donors, 102 intravenous drug users (IVDUs), 304 pregnant women, 145 individuals living in the rural area and 260 individuals living in the urban area. In order to characterize a favorable epidemiological set for enterically transmitted infection in the studied populations we also evaluated the prevalence of anti-HAV IgG (hepatitis A virus) antibodies. Specific antibodies to HEV (anti-HEV IgG) were detected by a commercial EIA and specific antibodies to HAV (anti-HAV IgG) were detected using a competitive "in house" EIA. We found a high prevalence of anti-HAV IgG in these populations, that could indicate some risk for infections transmitted via the fecal-oral route. The anti-HEV IgG prevalence among the different groups were: 2.1% in patients with acute NANBNC viral hepatitis, 6.2% in hemodialysis patients, 4.3% in blood donors, 11.8% in IVDUs, 1% in pregnant women, and 2.1% in individuals form the rural area. Among individuals living in the urban area we did not find a single positive serum sample. Our results demonstrated the presence of anti-HEV IgG in almost all studied populations; however, further studies are necessary to establish the real situation of HEV epidemiology in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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