The hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a major cause of acute hepatitis globally. Genotypes 1 and 2 (G1 and G2) are obligate human pathogens transmitted faeco-orally, leading to epidemics in developing countries. In contrast, genotypes 3 and 4 (G3 and G4) have a wider host range, including humans, but are primarily porcine viruses and are transmitted from animals to humans as a food-borne zoonosis when meat from an infected animal is consumed. HEV is increasingly recognised as a problem in developed countries, including countries in Europe. G3 HEV is now the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis in the UK and cases continue to rise. The majority of these infections are acquired within the UK and thought to be from insufficiently cooked meat, predominantly processed pork meat. Previously thought to only cause self-limiting disease, HEV infection can persist in immunosuppressed patients, which may lead to chronic hepatitis and the rapid development of cirrhosis. Of particular interest to the transfusion community has been the possibility of transfusion-transmitted HEV, which has been reported from countries classically considered HEV-endemic but also non-endemic countries in Europe and Japan. This has prompted some countries to introduce screening for HEV in blood donations.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 British Blood Transfusion Society
Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.