Sunday, April 7, 2013

Protective role of humoral immune responses during an outbreak of hepatitis E in Egypt Although the seroprevalence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) is approximately 80% in adult Egyptiansliving in rural areas, symptomatic HEV-caused acute viral hepatitis (AVH) is sporadic and relatively uncommon. To investigate the dichotomy between HEV infection and clinical AVH, HEV-specific immune responses in patients with symptomatic and asymptomatic HEV infection during a waterborne outbreak in Egypt were examined. Of 235 acute hepatitis patients in Assiut hospitals screened for HEV infection, 42 (17.9%) were acute hepatitis patients confirmed as HEV-caused AVH; 37 (88%) of the 42 patients were residents of rural areas, and 14 (33%) were from one village (Kom El-Mansoura). Another 200 contacts of AVH cases in this village were screened for HEV and 14 (7.0%), all of whom were family members of AVH cases, were asymptomatic HEV IgM-positive. HEV infections in this village peaked during the summer. Asymptomatic HEV seroconverters had significantly higher levels of epitope-specific neutralising (p=0.006) and high avidity (p=0.04) anti-HEV antibodies than the corresponding AVH cases. In conclusion, naturally acquired humoral immune responses appear to protect HEV-exposed subjects from AVH during an HEV outbreak in Egypt.

Abstract. Hepatitis viral infection is hyperendemic in Egypt, western Asia and Africa. However, little is known about the status of hepatitis viruses among rural Egyptian children. Therefore, this study sought to examine the prevalence and characteristics of hepatitis viruses among symptomatic Egyptian children. Serological and molecular analyses of hepatitis viral infection were conducted in 33 children hospitalised at Mansoura University with symptomatic hepatic dysfunction (mean ± standard deviation age, 9.7±3.4 years; alanine aminotransferase level, 130±68 IU/ml). Eleven children (33%) were positive for anti-haemagglutination-IgM and were diagnosed with acute hepatitis A. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti‑hepatitis C virus (HCV) were detected in 9 (27%) and 7 (21%) children, respectively, indicating acute-on-chronic infection with hepatitis viruses. None of the children was positive for anti‑hepatitis B core antigen-IgM. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed that all HBVs belonged to genotype D (subgenotype D1) and that HCV belonged to genotypes 4a and 1g. HBV-DNA was detected in 9 children (27%) in the pre-S/S region and in 16 children (48%) in the core promoter/precore region. The Y134F amino acid mutation in the ‘α’ determinant region was detected in all of the patients. The A1762T/G1764A double mutation, and the T1846A and G1896A single mutations were common in children with occult HBV infection. In conclusion, hepatitis viral infection, including acute-on-chronic infection with HCV and HBV, is common in Egyptian children hospitalised with acute hepatitis http://www.spandidos-publications.com/ijo/42/4/1459