Introduction: Little is known about hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection in patients with cirrhosis. The aim of the present study was to describe the frequency of HEV infection and associated risk factors in patients with cirrhosis from Argentina. Materials and methods: We evaluated HEV seroprevalence (IgG anti-HEV) and acute infections (IgM and RNA) in patients with cirrhosis (n = 140) vs. healthy controls (n = 300). Additionally, we compared the same outcomes in individuals with alcohol-related cirrhosis (n = 43) vs. patients with alcohol use disorder (without cirrhosis, n = 72). Results: The overall HEV seroprevalence in the cohort of subjects with cirrhosis was 25% (35/140), compared to 4% in the healthy control group [12/300; OR = 8; (95% CI = 4-15.99); p<0.05]. HEV seropositivity was significantly higher in alcohol-related cirrhosis compared to other causes of cirrhosis [39.5% vs. 12.4%; OR = 4.71; (95% CI = 1.9-11.6); p<0.05] and to healthy controls [OR = 15.7; (95% CI = 6.8-36.4); p = 0.0001]. The HEV seroprevalence in alcoholic-related cirrhosis vs. with alcohol use disorder was 39.5% vs. 12.5% [OR = 4.58; (95% CI = 1.81-11.58); p<0.001]. Conclusion: We found a high seroprevalence of HEV in patients with cirrhosis and in individuals with alcohol use disorder. The simultaneous presence of both factors (cirrhosis + alcohol) showed more association to HEV infection. Larger studies with prospective follow up are needed to further clarify this interaction.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Agencia Nacional de Promoci?n de Ciencia y T?cnica de Argentina, ANPCyT, Foncyt, grant number PICT-2016-0143 (https://www.argentina.gob.ar/ciencia/ agencia/fondo-para-la-investigacion-cientifica-ytecnologica-foncyt) to VR.