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J Infect Dis. 2009 Jul 1;200(1):48-56. doi: 10.1086/599319.

Epidemiology of hepatitis E virus in the United States: results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is prevalent and causes disease worldwide, but its epidemiological profile is only partially understood.

METHODS:

We used an enzyme immunoassay to measure anti-HEV immunoglobulin G antibodies in 18,695 serum samples collected in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We calculated estimates of HEV seroprevalence and examined associations with putative risk factors.

RESULTS:

The seroprevalence of HEV in the civilian noninstitutionalized United States (US) population during the period from 1988 through 1994 was 21.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 19.0%-22.9%). Among US-born individuals, males, non-Hispanic whites, and individuals residing in the Midwest and/or in metropolitan areas had the highest seroprevalence estimates. Having a pet in the home (odds ratio [OR], 1.19 [95% CI, 1.01-1.40]) and consuming liver or other organ meats more than once per month (OR, 1.38 [95% CI, 1.01-1.88]) were significantly associated with increased odds of HEV seropositivity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Exposure to HEV is common in the US population, although hepatitis E is rarely reported. Having pets and consuming organ meats may play a role in HEV transmission in the United States, but other mechanisms of transmission may also exist. HEV may be considered a possible etiologic agent of acute and chronic hepatitis in US patients reporting no travel history.

PMID:
19473098
PMCID:
PMC2762746
DOI:
10.1086/599319
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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