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Summary

Background  Few data are available on the incidence, risk factors and contamination pathways involved in acute indigenous hepatitis E in developed countries.

Aims  To draw up an overall picture of hepatitis E cases, to confirm whether or not the majority of the cases were indigenous and to attempt to identify the risk factors and contamination pathways involved in hepatitis E.

Methods  This study was performed in the framework of a national network (ANGH) including 96 participating centres. The 19 centres with at least one case of acute HEV reported a total number of 53 cases.

Results  A decreasing South-to-North geographic gradient was observed. A nonspecific clinical profile was observed in many cases. Acute hepatitis E was of indigenous origin in 90% of the patients. The most relevant and/or frequent possible risk factors among the 47 indigenous metropolitan cases were water consumption from a personal water supply, uncooked shellfish consumption and the recent acquisition of a pet pig.

Conclusions  This national survey confirmed that acute indigenous hepatitis E is an emerging disease in developed countries such as France, and suggests that various risk factors are responsible for acute indigenous hepatitis E contamination in non-endemic countries.