Background and Aims: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection causes an acute, self-limiting hepatitis that is associated with high mortality, especially in pregnant women. Our previous clinical experiences indicated that there was a high prevalence of hepatitis A virus (HAV) among school-age children in the city of Ahvaz (in the southwest of Iran). Due to the fact that HEV is transmitted generally by the same route as HAV, the present study was performed to determine the seroprevalence of HEV among school-age children in Ahvaz.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study, the seroprevalence of anti-HEV antibodies was determined in sera from 566 children aged 6-15 years by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The study population included 257 (45.4%) males and 309 (54.6%) females.
Results: Anti-HEV antibodies were detected in 48 children (8.5%; 95% CI, 6.3-11.1). The seroprevalence of HEV was not statistically different between males and females or between different age groups.
Conclusions: HEV is relatively prevalent in children that live in the southwest of Iran, and further studies are needed to investigate the seroprevalence of HEV in other age groups.
Full text is available in PDF