Hepatitis E in a region of Italy: An emerging autochthonous infection?

Authors: Tarantino G, Bagnarelli P, Marzioni M, Marinelli K, Surace G, Traini S, Baroni GS, Menzo S, Benedetti A


Dig Liver Dis. 2016 Nov;48(11):1340-1345

BACKGROUND: Recent data showed an increasing number of "autochthonous" cases of hepatitis E in Italy.
AIMS: Analysing cases of acute hepatitis E to define frequency, clinical features, prognosis and risk factors.
METHODS: We considered all the patients admitted to our Regional Hospital between August 2011 and September 2014, with a diagnosis of acute hepatitis; serological screening for hepatitis B, C and A viruses was performed; in the event of negative results, sera were tested for cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr and hepatitis E viruses.
RESULTS: Among 200 patients, 66 were affected by viral infection. IgM anti-HEV was detected in 14 patients with a predominance of males (79%) with a mean age of 55. Genotype 3 of HEV was found in 8 patients. Only one patient died of acute on chronic liver failure; all others evolved favourably towards clinical remission within two months from clinical onset. Thirteen patients had had local exposure to infection and 9 reported the consumption of raw or undercooked locally produced pork.
CONCLUSION: The incidence of HEV in our cohort of patients with acute viral hepatitis is high (about 20% per year). In over 85% an autochthonous exposure to infection could be recognised, with a clear link with food habits.



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