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Seroprevalence of hepatitis E antibodies in a population of recyclable waste pickers in Brazil

By R. M. B Martins, N. R Freitas, A Kozlowski, N. R. S Reis, C. L. R Lopes, S. A Teles, N. R Gardinali and M. A Pinto


Background Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection represents an important cause of acute viral hepatitis. Selective waste collection is a widespread activity carried out by the urban poor, and recyclable waste pickers have a lifestyle that makes this group highly vulnerable to unfavorable socio-economic and environmental factors. To date, the epidemiology of HEV infection in this population remains unknown. Objectives To assess the seroprevalence of hepatitis E-specific antibodies in a population of recyclable waste pickers in Brazil. Study design Between April 2010 and May 2011, a cross-sectional study was conducted among recyclable waste pickers from all 15 recycling cooperatives in Goiânia City, Central Brazil. The participants were tested for serological markers indicative of HEV infection. Results Of 432 individuals asked to participate in the survey, 431 (99.8%) agreed to participate. Twenty-four of 431 participants were anti-HEV IgG positive by ELISA. Of these, 22 were confirmed positive by immunoblot, resulting in an anti-HEV IgG prevalence of 5.1% (95% CI: 3.4–7.6). In addition, four individuals were anti-HEV IgM positive by ELISA. Of these, three (0.7%; 95% CI: 0.4–2.4) were confirmed anti-HEV IgM positive by immunoblot, but were HEV RNA negative. One was concurrently positive for anti-HEV IgG. Only age > 40 years was independently associated with the presence of anti-HEV. Conclusions These findings demonstrated that the prevalence of HEV antibodies among recyclable waste pickers in Central Brazil is relatively low and increased with age

Topics: Hepatitis E virus, Recyclable waste pickers, Prevalence, Vírus da Hepatite E, Prevalência
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2014
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