Transfusion-transmitted hepatitis E in a ‘nonhyperendemic’ country


Dr Elizabeth Boxall, West Midlands Public Health Laboratory, Heart of England NHS Trust, Birmingham B9 5SS, UK. Tel.: +44 121 424 2248; fax: +44 121 772 6229; e-mail:


summary.  Indigenous hepatitis E is increasingly recognized in developed countries, where it may be a zoonosis. We describe the first case of transfusion-transmitted hepatitis E in the UK from a blood donor who had no history of recent travel abroad.

Follow-up of the donor and recipients of the blood products was carried out using serological and molecular techniques.

Acute hepatitis E was transmitted to one of two recipients. The infected patient would have received a larger volume of the donor's plasma. HEV subgenomic sequences carried by the donor and recipient were identical.

This is the first case of post-transfusion hepatitis E in the UK. Secondary transmission of hepatitis E indigenous to a nonhyperendemic country may occur by blood transfusion. It is important that blood donors inform the transfusion service of all post-donation illnesses so that appropriate interventions can take place.