Seroprevalence of Hepatitis E Virus and The Rate of Co-infection with other Viruses in Blood Donors in Oyo State, Nigeria: A Pilot Study
Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) infection is a major public health challenge in developing countries where it has caused large waterborne epidemics. However, the risk of transfusiontransmitted HEV through contaminated blood and blood products remains unknown.This cross-sectional study aimed at determining the seroprevalence of HEV among 186 blood donors who visited the University College Hospital blood bank, Ibadan in Nigeria, between January and June, 2018.Five ml of venous blood was drawn from each subject into plain sample bottles. The sera were analyzed for HEV, HCV, HBsAg, HIV and VDRL via ELISA techniques. Our findings showed HEV (4.3%) to be the most prevalent transfusiontransmissible infections (TTIs), followed by HIV (3.2%), HBV (3.2%), HCV (2.7%) and syphilis (1.1%). Prevalence rate of HEV/HIV co-infection recorded was 0.54%, HBsAg/HCV co-infection was 0.58% while HBsAg/HIV co-infection was 1.08 %. Also, statistical relationship was observed between HEV and increasing age (P = 0.038). Among the seropositive donors 62.5% reported to have donated blood in the past. In conclusion, the study showed a high seroprevalence rate of HEV among the donors; higher than the other routinely screened viral markers. Blood donors above age 30, which is the age bracket of most donors, have a higher probability of being seropositive. Thus posing significant health risks to blood transfusion recipients. Hence, it is recommended that HEV be routinely screened for along with other viral TTIs.