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Hepatitis E virus as a cause of acute hepatitis acquired in Switzerland


Abstract

BACKGROUND: Autochthonous hepatitis E is increasingly recognized as zoonotic infection in western countries. Serological assays have varying sensitivity and specificity. METHODS: We implemented molecular testing to identify and characterize acute hepatitis E acquired in Switzerland. RESULTS: Ninety-three cases of mostly symptomatic acute hepatitis E acquired in Switzerland were documented by PCR between November 2011 and December 2016. Median HEV RNA was 7.5 x 104 IU/mL (range, 5.3 to 4.7 x 107 IU/mL). HEV genotyping was successful in 78 patients, revealing genotype 3 in 75 and genotype 4 in three patients. Phylogenetic analyses revealed a few limited geographical and temporal clusters. Of the 91 patients with available anti-HEV IgM serology, four were negative; three of these were also IgG-negative, likely as a result of immunosuppression, and one was IgG-positive, a constellation compatible with HEV reinfection. Median age of the patients was 58 years (range, 20-80 years); 71 (76.3%) were men and 49 of these (69.0%) were ≥ 50 years old. The clinical course was particularly severe in patients with underlying chronic liver disease, with fatal outcome in two patients. Six patients (6.5%) presented with neuralgic amyotrophy. CONCLUSIONS: Nucleic acid-based diagnosis reveals HEV as a relevant cause of acute hepatitis in Switzerland. Middle-aged and elderly men constitute the majority of symptomatic patients. Testing for HEV should be included early in the diagnostic workup of acute hepatitis and of neuralgic amyotrophy, a typical extrahepatic manifestation of HEV genotype 3 infection.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Autochthonous hepatitis E is increasingly recognized as zoonotic infection in western countries. Serological assays have varying sensitivity and specificity. METHODS: We implemented molecular testing to identify and characterize acute hepatitis E acquired in Switzerland. RESULTS: Ninety-three cases of mostly symptomatic acute hepatitis E acquired in Switzerland were documented by PCR between November 2011 and December 2016. Median HEV RNA was 7.5 x 104 IU/mL (range, 5.3 to 4.7 x 107 IU/mL). HEV genotyping was successful in 78 patients, revealing genotype 3 in 75 and genotype 4 in three patients. Phylogenetic analyses revealed a few limited geographical and temporal clusters. Of the 91 patients with available anti-HEV IgM serology, four were negative; three of these were also IgG-negative, likely as a result of immunosuppression, and one was IgG-positive, a constellation compatible with HEV reinfection. Median age of the patients was 58 years (range, 20-80 years); 71 (76.3%) were men and 49 of these (69.0%) were ≥ 50 years old. The clinical course was particularly severe in patients with underlying chronic liver disease, with fatal outcome in two patients. Six patients (6.5%) presented with neuralgic amyotrophy. CONCLUSIONS: Nucleic acid-based diagnosis reveals HEV as a relevant cause of acute hepatitis in Switzerland. Middle-aged and elderly men constitute the majority of symptomatic patients. Testing for HEV should be included early in the diagnostic workup of acute hepatitis and of neuralgic amyotrophy, a typical extrahepatic manifestation of HEV genotype 3 infection.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:April 2018
Deposited On:10 Jan 2018 16:33
Last Modified:23 Jul 2018 00:00
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1478-3223
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/liv.13557
PubMed ID:28834649

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