Infection

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 32–35 | Cite as

Prevalence of hepatitis E antibodies in healthy persons in southern Italy

  • M. Pavia
  • E. Iiritano
  • M. A. Veratti
  • I. F. Angelillo
Clinical and Epidemiological Studies Originalia

Summary

The aim of the study was to evaluate the seroprevalence of HEV antibodies in blood donors and in healthy persons in Calabria (Italy). An age-stratified sample of blood from donors was drawn at a regional transfusion service. Sixty persons were enrolled for each of the following age-groups: 18–20, 21–30, 41–50, 51–60, >60 years, whereas 61 persons were enrolled in the 31–40 age-group. In the oldest age-group 38 subjects were enrolled among healthy subjects attending an outpatient clinic. Participants were invited to fill in a questionnaire, including questions on demographics, such as sex, date and place of birth, place of residence, number of people in household, and occupation; exposure to specific risk factors, such as travel in hepatitis E endemic areas; history of jaundice and/or hepatitis; drug addiction and transfusions. Results of routine serological tests for blood donation (HBsAg, HCV, HIV, ALT) were also recorded. Serum samples of subjects were stored at −80°C until tested. The seroprevalence of hepatitis E antibodies was studied using in parallel two commerical ELISA tests consisting of recombinant antigens and synthetic HEV polypeptides. Three hundred sixty-one persons were recruited and six of them were positive to HEV antibodies (1.7%) by the recombinant test, whereas four were positive by the synthetic peptides test (1.1%). Overall, three subjects were positive to both tests, with a prevalence of 0.8%. Of these two (0.7%) were men and one (1.3%) a woman. As to age, two (3.3%) were in the 51–60, and one (1.7%) in the >60 age-group. None of the positive participants had travelled to highly endemic areas, and none were positive for HBsAg or HCV. The study confirms a low circulation of the HEV virus also in southern Italy, with a prevalence of infection more similar to that of northern European countries than to that of countries of the Mediterranean basin.

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Copyright information

© MMV Medizin Verlag GmbH München 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Pavia
    • 1
  • E. Iiritano
    • 2
  • M. A. Veratti
    • 2
  • I. F. Angelillo
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Hygiene, Medical SchoolUniversity of Reggio CalabriaCatanzaroItaly
  2. 2.Transfusion ServiceHospital “A. Pugliese”CatanzaroItaly

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