Study of Hepatitis E Virus in Blood Donors

Nashwa M. Al-Kasaby1, Maysaa El Sayed Zaki2, *
1 Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
2 Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt

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Creative Commons License
© 2019 Al-Kasaby and Zaki

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt; Tel: 01025454132;



Hepatitis E (HEV) is a major health problem affecting around one third of the world population. The prevalence of antibodies to HEV among blood donors have been documented in several countries in Europe and Asia.


The aims of the study are to estimate the seroprevalence of hepatitis E antibodies among healthy blood donors and to explore the factors associated with positive HEV antibodies among healthy blood donors. Moreover, to detect HEV viremia by real time polymerase chain reaction among seropositive blood donors for HEV.


The study included 200 apparent healthy blood donors from Dakahlia Governorate, Egypt. Blood samples were collected from the blood donors for serological determination for specific hepatitis E virus immunoglobulin G (anti-HEV IgG) and specific hepatitis E virus immunoglobulin M (anti- HEV IgM). Positive samples for anti-HEV IgM were further subjected for determination of HEV-RNA by real time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Anti-HEV-IgG was positive in 50 donor (25%) anti-HEV-IgM was positive in 10 donors (5%) and HEV-RNA was positive in 6 donors (3%).

Results and Discussion:

The comparison between blood donors positive for anti-HEV-IgG and negative blood donors negative reveals significant association between anti-HEV-IgG and donors with older age (42.0 ± 9.7,P = 0.001),rural residence (76%, P = 0.001), workers in agricultural works (92%, P = 0.035) and elevated AST (31.28±14.28, P = 0.04). Regarding viral markers, there was significant prevalance between positive anti-HCV-IgG and positive anti-HEV-IgG (P = 0.003). Univariate analysis for risk factors associated with positive anti-HEV IgG reveals significant prevalence with older age (P = 0.001), rural residence (P < 0.001), positive anti-HCV- IgG (P = 0.004) and increase in AST (P = 0.045). However, on Multivariate analysis HEV infection was independently prevalent with older age (P < 0.001) and rural residence (P = 0.002).


The present study highlights that HEV seroprevalence in blood donors is common finding. Further finding is the statistically significant correlation between antibodies to HCV and serological markers for HEV and even HEV viremia. Longitudinal studies may be needed to explore the clinical significance and cost effectiveness of screening of the blood donors for hepatitis E virus by serological tests and/or detection of viremia by Molecular testing.

Keywords: Blood donors, Anti-HEV IgM, Anti-HEV IgG, HEV-RNA, HEV viremia, Serologic tests.