Seroprevalence of Hepatitis E Virus among Voluntary Blood Donors in Nairobi County, Kenya: A Pilot Study
Fardolo, Ezekiel Kanue
Aluora, Patrick Okoti
MetadataShow full item record
Hepatitis E is a common infection caused by the Hepatitis E virus (HEV), a primarily enteric virus. HEV disease is mainly spread via stool contamination of water and food supplies. The virus has recently been identified as a global threat to blood safety. The seroprevalence of HEV among blood donors in Kenya remains unknown. This study was carried out as a pilot study to determine the seroprevalence of the virus among blood donors at Nairobi Blood Transfusion Center during the period from September 2018 to January 2019. A total of three hundred and fifty eight (n = 358) plasma samples were used in this study. The plasma was tested for HEV IgM and IgG antibody using a qualitative membrane-based immunoassay (Biopanda reagents Belfast UK). Demographic characteristics of the blood donors were also collected. The age of the blood donors ranged from 16 to 61 years with a mean age of 29 years (±14). Of the study subjects, 36% (n = 130) were females while 64% (n = 228) were males. Overall, 10.6% (38) and 7.8% (28) of the samples were HEV IgG and IgM seropositive respectively. Anti-HEV was distributed among all age groups; however donors aged 20 - 40 years had the highest prevalence. This study shows a relatively high prevalence of anti-HEV among healthy blood donors in Nairobi, Kenya. Further studies would be needed in other population groups to assess the potential benefit of incorporating HEV screening of blood products to the current blood donor selection criteria. Moreover, further studies to determine the circulating genotypes of HEV among this group are required for epidemiological reasons.