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Hepatitis E Infection Widespread in England — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 28, 2014

Hepatitis E Infection Widespread in England

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection is more prevalent in England than previously believed, a Lancet study finds.

Some 225,000 blood donations collected in southeastern England in 2012-2013 were screened retrospectively for HEV RNA. Seventy-nine (1 in 2848) were positive for HEV RNA, with most of these negative for HEV antibodies. Of samples that could be genotyped, all were HEV genotype 3 (an animal strain that can infect humans through, for example, consumption of processed pork).

Forty-three patients who received blood components from HEV-infected donors were studied. Eighteen patients (42%) showed evidence of HEV infection; ten had prolonged infection. While transaminitis was common, post-transfusion hepatitis developed in just one patient.

The authors say their findings mean that roughly 80,000-100,000 acute HEV infections likely occurred in England in 2012-2013. A commentator, noting the severe consequences of HEV in immunocompromised patients, writes, "I believe that systematic screening of blood components for markers of hepatitis E infection should be implemented in areas where HEV is endemic (eg, the European Union), based on HEV RNA detection."

Reader Comments (1)

Dindukurthi Sudhakar MBBS DCH Physician, Pediatrics/Adolescent Medicine, Polyclinic

The use of the term, "transaminitis", should be stopped. An enzyme cannot get inflamed. Can it?

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