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J Med Virol. 1998 Jan;54(1):38-43.

Prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis E virus among hemodialysis patients in Sweden.

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Department of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Karolinska Institute, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


In order to study the prevalence of antibody to hepatitis E virus (HEV) among hemodialysis patients and to evaluate whether chronic hemodialysis is associated with an increased risk of exposure to HEV in developed countries, the IgG anti-HEV was determined in serum samples obtained from 182 patients on chronic hemodialysis and 349 statistically selected, healthy Swedish control subjects. Serum specimens from 11 of the 182 (6.0%) hemodialysis patients and from 18 of the 349 (5.2%) control subjects were repeatedly positive for HEV antibodies (the difference was not significant: P = .67). Analysis of serial serum samples obtained at the initiation of hemodialysis and consecutively during follow-up periods of several years demonstrated no IgG anti-HEV seroconversion during chronic hemodialysis. The seroprevalence of anti-HEV antibody in the adult Swedish population was associated significantly with age. In persons younger than 40 years, the percentage of seropositive individuals was 2.5%, whereas the seroprevalence rate of anti-HEV was 7.4% in subjects older than 40 years (P < .05). This study indicates that nosocomial transmission of HEV to patients on maintenance hemodialysis was non-existent in three dialysis centers in Sweden (a developed country) and that chronic hemodialysis is not associated with an increased risk of exposure to HEV infection in this region.

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