Seroprevalence and risk factors of anti- hepatitis E virus antibody among healthy population in Baquba, Diyala province


Background: An increasing attention has been noticed about the human infection by hepatitis E virus, especially in countries with low socioeconomic and poor sanitary standards. Objectives: To determine the seroprevalence of anti-hepatitis E virus (HEV) IgG antibody among healthy population in Baquba (the center of Diyala province), and to investigate the impact of certain epidemiological factors.Materials & methods: This study was conducted in the Public Health Laboratory for the period from October/2003 to August/ 2004.Serum samples were collected from 111 apparently healthy individuals, 50(45%) were males (mean age 25.1± 5.1) years, and 61(55%) females (mean age 23.2 ± 7.9) years. Additionally, information includes age, sex, residence, source of drinking water, family history of jaundice, and contact with domestic animals were recorded by personal interview. Similarly, 20 serum samples from chicken, 37 from sheep, 10 from cattle, and 10 from goats were also collected. All human and animal samples were submitted for anti-HEV IgG antibody detection using Enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA). Collected data were statistically analyzed.Results: The prevalence of anti-HEV IgG among healthy population was 18%, with significantly higher positivity rate in young adults (P= 0.006). The anti-HEV IgG positivity rate was slightly higher in males compared to females (20% vs. 16.4%). Individuals who were in contact with domestic animals had 2 times more risk to be anti-HEV IgG positive (Odd ratio 2). Participants from rural areas had higher positivity rate compared to those from urban areas (20% vs. 15.7%). Anti-HEV IgG positivity rate was slightly higher in those drinking municipal water (18.7 %) compared to those used river/wells water for drinking (15%). Likewise, family history of jaundice has insignificant effect on the prevalence of anti-HEV IgG. Non of the animal sera were positive for anti-HEV IgG.Conclusion: Seroprevalence of anti-HEV IgG among healthy population in Baquba was comparable to those documented in endemic areas. Key wards: Seroprevalence, Hepatitis E virus, Diyala.