Author(s): Christensen PB, Engle RE, Jacobsen SE, Krarup HB, Georgsen J,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Injecting drug users and prisoners have high prevalences of antibodies to hepatitis A-C. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis E virus (anti-HEV) in two Danish high-risk populations and correlate anti-HEV with risk factors for transmission. Three hundred thirty male prisoners and 137 patients at a drug treatment center were tested for anti-HEV with an in-house enzyme-linked immunoassay (EIA) utilizing antigens derived from open reading frame 2 (ORF2). This was compared with a commercial test with antigens derived from ORF2 and ORF3 (Abbott HEV EIA). In addition the samples were tested for antibodies against hepatitis A-C viruses, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) 1 and 2, human T lymphotropic virus (HTLV) I and II and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV2). The participants were interviewed about risk factors for transmission. The anti-HEV prevalence was 16.9\% (95\% CI 14-21) for the in-house assay compared to 4.1\% (95\% CI 2.5-6.3) with the commercial assay. The correlation between the two assays was low (87\% overall agreement; kappa value 0.32). One sample was strongly anti-HEV IgM positive, suggesting recent HEV infection inside Denmark. The presence of anti-HEV was associated significantly with anti-HAV among prisoners and increased with age in both groups. In contrast, associations were not found with injecting drug use or sexual risk factors. With the commercial assay an increased prevalence of anti-HEV was found among participants who had spent more than 5 years outside Northern Europe. In conclusion, anti-HEV was highly prevalent among Danish prisoners and drug users but not related to risk factors for blood-borne or sexual transmission. Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
This article was published in J Med Virol
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals