Epidemiology of hepatitis E virus in male blood donors in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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To our knowledge, only a few epidemiological reports on the prevalence of hepatitis E antibodies in Saudi blood donors have been published.

Men of several nationalities, donating blood at King Khalid National Guard Hospital (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) were selected (n = 593) for this study examining the seroprevalence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) in the local male donor population and testing the relationship of the antibody to HEV (anti-HEV) to donor characteristics using Odds Ratio (OR) and Chi-square statistic.

The prevalence of anti-HEV in the group examined was 16.9 per cent (100/593). The seroprevalence for Saudi donors was 14.8 per cent compared with 33.3 per cent for non-Saudis of Middle Eastern origin. Donors who were 40 yr and over had significantly higher seroprevalence than those donors who were 30 yr or younger (OR =2.5, p = 0.006). There was a significant association between anti-HEV and anti-HCV with donors who were positive to anti-HCV having about 5 times the risk of HEV than those who were anti-HCV negative (p = 0.02).

These findings demonstrate the high seroprevalence rate of anti-HEV among male blood donors in Saudi Arabia.

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