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Keywords:

  • hepatitis E;
  • HEV;
  • pregnant women;
  • imported diseases;
  • viral hepatitis

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus, a cause of sporadic hepatitis in developed countries is present in Spain. The aims of this study were to determine whether the prevalence of IgG anti-hepatitis E virus antibodies has increased in recent years in Spain and the prevalence in a study population at risk of developing the disease following the infection. Serum samples from 1,040 women in the first trimester of pregnancy were studied. The prevalence rate of 3.6% has not increased significantly since 1999 in spite of the large number of immigrants from endemic regions. IgM anti-HEV antibodies were detected in 0.67% of the patients suggesting that although subclinical infection exists the prevalence is very low. The reasons for the differences in the morbidity of HEV in pregnant women in different geographical areas remain unclear. Good hygienic measures and public health conditions are important factors for ensuring low prevalence of hepatitis E in Spain. J. Med. Virol. 82:1666–1668, 2010. 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.