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Serological evidence of hepatitis E virus infection among volunteer blood donors at the Accra area blood transfusion center, Accra, Ghana
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection causes as an acute, self-limiting hepatitis that is associated with high mortality, especially in pregnant women. We previously reported high sero-prevalence of HEV among pregnant women and persons who worked with pigs. Therefore we evaluated the prevalence of anti-HEV IgM and anti-HEV IgG among blood donors at the Accra Area Blood Accra, Ghana. Four hundred and seventy-one volunteer blood donors (males, 427; females, 44) voluntarily provided blood samples for unlinked anonymous testing for the presence of antibodies (IgM and IgG) to HEV by enzyme-linked immunoassay. Among the blood donors, the overall sero-prevalence of HEV-IgG and HEV IgM were found to be 25.6% and 45.9% respectively; this difference is statistically significant (P < 0.05). None of the blood donors tested positive for both IgG and IgM. The prevalence rate of HEV-IgM (both male and female) in each age group was almost two times higher than the prevalence rate of HEV-IgG. On multivariate analysis, gender and age were not independent determinants (P > 0.05) for HEV infection among the blood do-nors. The results of our studies demonstrate a high prevalence of anti-HEV among Ghanaian blood donors, particularly anti-HEV IgM suggestive of more recent infection.