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Euro Surveill. 2013 Aug 1;18(31). pii: 20550.

Silent hepatitis E virus infection in Dutch blood donors, 2011 to 2012.

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1
Department of Blood-borne Infections, Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

In Europe, the dynamics of endemic hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection remain enigmatic. We studied the presence of silent HEV infection among Dutch blood donors. Using donations collected throughout the Netherlands in 2011 and 2012, 40,176 donations were tested for HEV RNA in 459 pools of 48 or 480 donations. Deconstruction of the reactive pools identified 13 viraemic donors. In addition, 5,239 donors were tested for presence of anti-HEV IgG and IgM and for HEV RNA when IgM-positive. Of the 5,239 donations, 1,401 (27%) tested repeat-positive for HEV IgG, of which 49 (3.5%) also tested positive for anti-HEV IgM. Four of the HEV IgM-positive donors tested positive for HEV RNA. HEV IgG seroprevalence ranged from 13% among donors younger than 30 years to 43% in donors older than 60 years. The finding of 17 HEV RNA-positive donations among 45,415 donations corresponds to one HEV-positive blood donation per day in the Netherlands. For 16 of the 17 HEV RNA-positive donors, genotyping succeeded, revealing HEV genotype 3, which is circulating among Dutch pigs. Apparently, silent HEV infection is common in the Netherlands, which possibly applies to larger parts of Europe.

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