Case-control study of risk factors for acquired hepatitis E virus infections in blood donors, United Kingdom, 2018-2019

Iona Smith*, Bengü Said, Aisling Vaughan, Becky Haywood, Samreen Ijaz, Claire Reynolds, Su Brailsford, Katherine Russell, Dilys Morgan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis in England. Substantial yearly increases of autochthonous infections were observed during 2003-2016 and again during 2017-2019. Previous studies associated acute HEV cases with consumption of processed pork products, we investigated risk factors for autochthonous HEV infections in the blood donor population in England. Study participants were 117 HEV RNA-positive blood donors and 564 HEV RNA-negative blood donors. No persons with positive results were vegetarian; 97.4% of persons with positive results reported eating pork products. Consuming bacon (OR 3.0, 95% CI 1.7-5.5; p<0.0001), cured pork meats (OR 3.5, 95% CI 2.2-5.4; p<0.0001), and pigs' liver (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.0-8.3; p = 0.04) were significantly associated with HEV infection. Our findings confirm previous links to pork products and suggest that appropriate animal husbandry is essential to reduce the risk for HEV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1654-1661
Number of pages8
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
Early online date6 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the National Health Service Blood and Transplant Microbiology Services office staff who assisted in contacting donors. We thank all the donors who participated in the study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All rights reserved.


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