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Emerg Infect Dis. 2011 Jan;17(1):30-7. doi: 10.3201/eid1701.100527.

Hepatitis E virus infection without reactivation in solid-organ transplant recipients, France.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Toulouse, France.


Infections with hepatitis E virus (HEV) in solid-organ transplant recipients can lead to chronic hepatitis. However, the incidence of de novo HEV infections after transplantation and risk for reactivation in patients with antibodies against HEV before transplantation are unknown. Pretransplant prevalence of these antibodies in 700 solid-organ transplant recipients at Toulouse University Hospital in France was 14.1%. We found no HEV reactivation among patients with antibodies against HEV at the first annual checkup or by measuring liver enzyme activities and HEV RNA. In contrast, we found 34 locally acquired HEV infections among patients with no antibodies against HEV, 47% of whom had a chronic infection, resulting in an incidence of 3.2/100 person-years. Independent risk factors for HEV infection were an age <52 years at transplantation and receiving a liver transplant. Effective prophylactic measures that include those for potential zoonotic infections should reduce the risk for HEV transmission in this population.

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