Hepatitis E virus infections in HIV-infected patients in Ghanaand Cameroon

Hepatitis E virus infections in HIV-infected patients in Ghanaand Cameroon

Hepatitis E virus infections in HIV-infected patients in Ghanaand Cameroon

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Chronic hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections have recently been described in HIV-infected patients. Only few data are available for sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV and HEV are highly co-endemic, and where liver pathology is common in HIV-infected individuals.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the prevalence of HEV viremia, anti-HEV antibodies, and serum aminotransferase levels in HIV patients in Ghana andCameroon.

STUDY DESIGN:

We retrospectively surveyed a cross-section of patients who were enrolled in cohort studies in Ghana (West Africa), and Cameroon(Central Africa). Plasma samples from 1029 HIV patients from Ghana and 515 patients from Cameroon including 214 children were analyzed for HEV-RNA by two reverse transcription PCR methods. In a subset of 791 patients, anti-HEV IgG and IgM antibodies were analyzed.

RESULTS:

No HEV-RNA was detected in any of the plasma samples of 1544 patients. HEV seroprevalence was high in adult HIV patients from Ghana (45.3%, n=402) and Cameroon (14.2%, n=289), but low in pediatric HIV patients from Cameroon (2.0%, n=100). Elevations of alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels were common in adult patients from Ghana (20.8% and 25.4%) and Cameroon (38.9% and 69.8%). The prevalence of hepatitis B virus surface antigen was 11.8% and of hepatitis C virus antibodies 2.5% in our adult Cameroonian study population.

CONCLUSIONS:

Acute or chronic HEV infections did not play a role in liver pathology in two HIV cohorts in Ghana and Cameroon. A better understanding of the epidemiology and genotype-specific characteristics of HEV infections in HIV patients in sub-Saharan Africa is needed.

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