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Heatitis E virus infection among pig handlers in Accra, Ghana

AA Adjei
JT Aviyase
Y Tettey
C Adu-Gyamfi
JA Mingle
PF Ayeh-Kumi
TK Adiku
RK Gyasi


Objective: To determine the correlates of hepatitis E virus infection (HEV) in a sample of persons who work with pigs.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: Three pig farms in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.
Subjects: Persons who work with pigs seen at the selected pig farms between the months of January and May 2008.
Results: One hundred and five persons who work with pigs voluntarily completed a risk-factor questionnaire and provided blood samples for unlinked anonymous testing for the presence of antibodies to HEV. The median age of participants was 36.5 ± 15.0 years (range 12-65 years). Of the 105 subjects tested, HEV seroprevelance was 38.1%. On multivariate analysis, the independent determinants of HEV infection were being employed on the farm for less than six months (odds ratio (OR) 9.1; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.0-81.4 and having piped water in the household and/or on the farm (OR 3.9; 95% CI 0.4-90.8).
Conclusion: Consistent with similar studies worldwide, the results of our studies revealed a high prevalence of HEV infection in persons who work with pigs. Further studies need to be done to isolate, characterise the virus and define the clinical and epidemiological significance of HEV infection in this population.

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eISSN: 0012-835X