Hepatitis E in Children: A Position Paper by the ESPGHAN Hepatology Committee

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Abstract

Background:

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is endemic in large parts of the developing world. Waterborne transmission of genotypes 1 or 2 commonly causes acute hepatitis, which is usually self-limited in healthy individuals. In addition, acute HEV infections also occur outside endemic areas, mostly related to foodborne transmission of HEV genotype 3. A growing number of publications in the last decade have reported chronic infection progressing to cirrhosis in immunosuppressed patients. It has also been suggested that HEV transmission may occur via contaminated blood products. This publication aims to provide recommendations for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of HEV infection, particularly in children after solid organ transplantation.

Methods:

A systematic PubMed literature search on HEV infection from 1990 to January 2016 was performed focusing on pediatric studies. The existing body of evidence was reviewed and recommendations were agreed upon following discussion and unanimous agreement by all members of the ESPGHAN Hepatology Committee during a consensus meeting in January 2016. In the absence of randomized controlled studies these recommendations were considered to be expert opinions.

Key Recommendations:

Immunocompetent children with increased transaminases and/or extrahepatic manifestations should be considered for testing for evidence of HEV infection. Immunocompromised children with increased aminotransferases should be repeatedly tested for HEV and may require therapeutic intervention.

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