An epidemiologic investigation of a case of acute hepatitis e

Souvik Sarkar, Elenita M. Rivera, Ronald E. Engle, Hanh T. Nguyen, Cathy A. Schechterly, Harvey J. Alter, T. Jake Liang, Robert H. Purcell, Jay H. Hoofnagle, Marc G. Ghany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is considered a zoonotic infection in developed nations. A case of acute hepatitis E in a researcher following a scalpel injury while working on a pig prompted a seroepidemiologic study to identify potential modes of transmission and determine the seroprevalence of HEV among animal handlers at the institute. Sera from personnel (n=64) in two animal facilities and age/sex-matched blood donors (n=63) as controls were tested for IgG anti-HEV and, if positive, for IgM anti-HEV and HEV RNA. Sera and stool from pigs aged 6 to 12 weeks from the breeding farm and older pigs from animal facilities were tested similarly. The median age of personnel was 36 years, 74% were white, 56% were male, and 74% had direct exposure to pigs. The prevalence of anti-HEV was 3.1% among personnel compared to 3.2% among blood donors; none were positive for IgM anti-HEV or HEV RNA. IgG anti-HEV was detected in sera from 10% of pigs aged 6 to 8 weeks, 80% aged 10 weeks, 100% aged 12 weeks, and 76% aged>12 weeks. HEV RNA was detected in stool but not sera from three 12-week-old pigs. Sequencing revealed HEV genotype 3 with=10% difference between the patient and pig sequences. Parenteral transmission is a potential mode of acute HEV infection. The low and similar seroprevalence of anti-HEV between the at-risk group and age-matched blood donors suggests low transmission risk with universal precautions among animal handlers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3547-3552
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Volume53
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

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    Sarkar, S., Rivera, E. M., Engle, R. E., Nguyen, H. T., Schechterly, C. A., Alter, H. J., Jake Liang, T., Purcell, R. H., Hoofnagle, J. H., & Ghany, M. G. (2015). An epidemiologic investigation of a case of acute hepatitis e. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 53(11), 3547-3552. https://doi.org/10.1128/JCM.01189-15