Hepatitis E virus (HEV) was discovered in the 1980s and has been considered as being confined to developing countries. The purpose of this critical review was to determine the reported HEV seroprevalence rates in Italy, to identify predisposing factors and individuals at risk and to assess possible importation of HEV by immigrants. A critical review of 159 articles published in PubMed from 1994 to date was done. Only 27 original reports of 50 or more subjects, written in the English or Italian language, were included. Over three decades, the HEV seroprevalence varied from 0.12% to 49%, with the highest rates being reported from the central region of Italy. Risk factors included ingestion of raw pork or potentially contaminated food. The seroprevalence among immigrants ranged from 15.3% to 19.7% in Apulia. Italy has a population of 60 656 000; the total number of individuals surveyed was only 21.882 (0.036%). A national epidemiological survey program is needed to capture more comprehensive seroprevalence data.
- Hepatitis E infection
- Risk factors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases