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Keywords:

  • HEV;
  • serology;
  • pE2;
  • hepevirus

Abstract

Sequential sera were collected from 18 acute cases of UK-acquired hepatitis E. The virus strains in all cases were of genotype 3. The IgM and IgG response to acute infection were documented over time using EIA kits based on a peptide antigen, pE2, which is derived from a genotype 1 strain of hepatitis E virus (HEV). Ninety-five percentage of acute sera were IgM positive; after 6 months or more only 12% remained positive. The kit was adapted to quantify the IgG response (in WHO U/ml) and to determine antibody avidity. Following acute infection, anti-HEV IgG concentrations rose between 6.9- and 90-fold. IgG avidity was low (<25%) in most acute sera. After 6 months IgG avidity was greater than 50% in all cases. One patient with a poor IgM response and high avidity antibody in acute sera may have had a second HEV infection. Taken together, these results confirm that the pE2-based EIA kits are suitable for diagnosing acute HEV genotype 3 infection. With simple modifications the IgG kit can measure anti-HEV concentration and avidity, which can be used to confirm acute infection. J. Med. Virol. 80:95–101, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.