Background: The risk of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection from blood transfusion has aroused increasing concern in many countries. The aim of this study was to analyze the potential risk of HEV infection through blood transfusion in China. Study Design and Methods: Qualified blood donations and donations with isolated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) elevations from five geographically diverse Chinese regions were tested for anti-HEV immunoglobulin (Ig)M and IgG and HEV antigen. The positive samples for anti-HEV IgM and HEV antigen were tested for HEV RNA. HEV open reading frame (ORF)2 partial sequences were analyzed from HEV RNA-positive samples. Results: The seroprevalence rates of HEV antigen and anti-HEV IgM and IgG among qualified donations were 0.06% (6/10,741), 1.02% (109/10,741), and 27.42% (2945/10,741), respectively. Samples with isolated ALT elevations had higher prevalence of HEV markers, namely, HEV antigen of 0.25% (2/797), anti-HEV IgM of 2.76% (22/797), and anti-HEV IgG of 40.02% (319/797). The HEV antibody prevalence varied significantly by age, sex, and geographic region. All 131 samples that were anti-HEV IgM positive were negative for HEV RNA, whereas four of eight (50%) samples positive for HEV antigen were HEV RNA positive. HEV ORF2 sequences from three of four HEV RNA-positive samples were determined and grouped with Genotype 4. Conclusion: Qualified donations after routine blood donor screening still carry potential risk for transmitting HEV. HEV antigen screening could be one measure to reduce the risk of HEV transmission by blood transfusion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy