Autochthonous hepatitis E in Scotland

Sandeep Ramalingam, Donald Smith, Louise Wellington, Jeff Vanek, Peter Simmonds, Alastair Macgilchrist, Andrew Bathgate, Kenneth Simpson, Ingolfur Johannessen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hepatitis E virus is well recognized cause of acute hepatitis. Traditionally hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections were generally associated with travel to Asia and Africa. Autochthonous hepatitis E is recognized as a major cause acute hepatitis in England and Wales. However, autochthonous hepatitis E has never been documented in Scotland.
Objectives: We attempted to determine if autochthonous HEV occurred in Scotland.

Study design: Samples from 377 individuals in the South-East of Scotland presenting with acute hepatitis were tested over six years. Acute hepatitis E was confirmed by detecting viraemia or documenting sero-conversion and ORF-2 region sequenced. Structured interviews were carried out to identify risk factors for infection.
Results: Sixteen individuals (4.2%) had evidence of past HEV infection. Twelve (3.2%) had acute HEV infection, 10 of whom had viraemia (genotype 1 = 3; genotype 3 = 7). Of these seven with genotype 3 infection, three had not travelled outside Scotland within the incubation period, while four had travelled to Spain (n = 3) or Turkey (n = 1). All three individuals with genotype 1 infection had travelled to the Indian subcontinent.

Conclusions: A significant proportion of HEV genotype 3 infections was autochthonous (43%). HEV screening should hence be an integral part of acute hepatitis screening in Scotland, irrespective of the travel history. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-23
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

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