Archives of Virology

, Volume 152, Issue 9, pp 1623–1635

Unchanged high prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis E virus (HEV) and HEV RNA among blood donors with an elevated alanine aminotransferase level in Japan during 1991–2006

  • S. Fukuda
  • M. Ishikawa
  • N. Ochiai
  • Y. Suzuki
  • J. Sunaga
  • N. Shinohara
  • K. Nozawa
  • F. Tsuda
  • M. Takahashi
  • H. Okamoto
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00705-007-0996-z

Cite this article as:
Fukuda, S., Ishikawa, M., Ochiai, N. et al. Arch Virol (2007) 152: 1623. doi:10.1007/s00705-007-0996-z

Summary

Hepatitis E is rare in Japan but is occurring more frequently than previously thought. To investigate whether de novo subclinical infection of hepatitis E virus (HEV) has recently increased in Japan, HEV RNA was assayed in serum samples obtained from 4019 Japanese voluntary blood donors with alanine aminotransferase (ALT) of ≥61 IU/l, who are likely to have ongoing HEV infection, during 1991–2006. The overall rates of IgG-class antibody to HEV (anti-HEV IgG), anti-HEV IgM/IgA and HEV RNA among 3185 donors in 2004–2006 were comparable with those among 594 donors in 1998 (5.3 vs. 5.2%, 0.2 vs. 0.5%, and 0.2 vs. 0.3%, respectively). Among blood donors with ALT ≥ 201 IU/l in three groups according to the year of blood collection (1991–1995 [n = 156], 1996–1999 [n = 116] and 2004–2006 [n = 61]), there were no appreciable differences in the prevalence of anti-HEV IgG (5.8, 4.3, and 6.6%, respectively), anti-HEV IgM/IgA (1.9, 3.4, and 3.3%, respectively) and HEV RNA (1.3, 3.4, and 3.3%, respectively). The eleven HEV isolates obtained in the present study differed from each other by 1.7–22.8% in the ORF2 sequence and segregated into genotype 3 or 4. The occurrence rate of subclinical infection with divergent HEV strains has essentially remained unchanged during 1991–2006 in Japan.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Fukuda
    • 1
  • M. Ishikawa
    • 1
  • N. Ochiai
    • 1
  • Y. Suzuki
    • 1
  • J. Sunaga
    • 1
  • N. Shinohara
    • 1
  • K. Nozawa
    • 1
  • F. Tsuda
    • 2
  • M. Takahashi
    • 3
  • H. Okamoto
    • 3
  1. 1.Japanese Red Cross Tochigi Blood CenterTochigiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Medical SciencesToshiba General HospitalTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Division of Virology, Department of Infection and ImmunityJichi Medical University School of MedicineTochigiJapan

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