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Hepatitis E Virus Seroprevalence among Blood Donors in Southwest Switzerland.
Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of Hepatitis E virus (HEV) among blood donors in southwest Switzerland.Background: HEV is recognized as a food-borne disease in industrialized countries, transmitted mainly through pork meat. Cases of transmission through blood transfusion have also been reported. Recent studies have revealed seroprevalence rates of 13.5%, 16.6% and 20.6% among blood donors in England, France and Denmark, respectively.Methods: We analyzed 550 consecutive blood donor samples collected in the region of Lausanne, canton of Vaud, Switzerland, for the presence of anti-HEV IgG, using the MP Diagnostics HEV ELISA kit. For each donor, we documented age, sex and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) value.Results: The study panel was composed of 332 men (60.4%) and 218 women (39.6%). Overall, anti-HEV IgG was found in 27 of 550 samples (4.9%). The seroprevalence was 5.4% (18/332) in men and 4.1% (9/218) in women. The presence of anti-HEV IgG was not correlated with age, gender or ALT values. However, we observed a peak in seroprevalence of 5.3% in individuals aged 51 to 70 years old.Conclusions: Compared with other European countries, HEV seroprevalence among blood donors in southwest Switzerland is low. The low seroprevalence may be explained by the sensitivity of commercial tests used and/or the strict regulation of animal and meat imports. Data regarding HEV prevalence in Swiss livestock are lacking and merit exploration.
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