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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Retrospective analysis of blood transfusion recipients: evidence for post-transfusion hepatitis E.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Of 200 volunteer blood donors we had screened earlier for hepatitis E virus (HEV) RNA, using reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, 3 were positive, raising the possibility of transfusion-associated hepatitis E in areas endemic for this virus. This retrospective study was to reassess the extent of post-transfusion hepatitis E among transfusion recipients, investigated in 1982. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We re-evaluated 56 recipients followed biweekly for 3 months after transfusion. The controls were 51 normal, healthy persons who gave blood at a 2-month interval, as well as 412 blood donors from whom blood was taken once in 1982. RESULTS: Of the 56 transfusion recipients, 19 were positive for IgG antibodies against HEV (anti-HEV) in the pretransfusion sample. Two of the 37 IgG anti-HEV-negative recipients seroconverted to IgM and IgG anti-HEV 5 and 4 weeks after transfusion, 1 with raised serum alanine aminotransferase levels. None showed symptoms of hepatitis. Attempts to detect HEV RNA in transfused blood, from aliquot units stored at -20 degrees C for over 17 years, were not successful. Of the controls, 17 out of 51 were IgG anti-HEV positive in the initial sample itself. None of the 34 IgG anti-HEV-negative controls seroconverted during the 2-month follow-up. Of the blood donors, 154 out of 412 were IgG anti-HEV positive. None of the 412 donors had circulating IgM anti-HEV antibodies. A significantly higher (p<0.03) proportion of susceptible transfusion recipients were IgM anti-HEV positive as compared with susceptible blood donors. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that, in countries where HEV is endemic, the transmission of hepatitis E may be associated with blood transfusion.[1]


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