Sero-molecular Epidemiology of Hepatitis E Virus in Blood Donors, Gezira State, Sudan: A Cross-sectional Study


Background: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a hepatotropic pathogen that causes significant morbidity and mortality in humans. It is an important causative agent of viral hepatitis outbreaks. This study investigates the serological and molecular prevalence of HEV in blood donors attending the Central Blood Bank in Wad Medani City in Gezira State, Sudan.

Methods: The study adopted a cross-sectional descriptive design. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data concerning demographic information and risk factors associated with HEV transmission. All enrolled participants (N = 300) were screened for HEV IgG antibodies using commercial ELISA kits, then strong positive samples (N = 84) were selected and rescreened for HEV IgM and HEV RNA by RT PCR. SPSS version 24.0 was used for analysis.

Results: Out of 300 male participants, 36.3% (109/300) were positive for HEV IgG. However, only one participant was IgM positive, while the HEV RNA was negative. The highest prevalence rates of the virus were 42 (44.6%) among the age group of 31–40 years, 20 (48.8%) in those who consumed food from outside, 13 (50%) in three to four multiple blood donations, and 5 (62.5%) in those who consumed water from the river source. A significant association of HEV IgG prevalence concerning the occupation of the participants being students or farmers was detected using univariate and multivariate analysis (P-value = 0.007).

Conclusion: High prevalence of HEV IgG was demonstrated among the healthy blood donors in this study. Given the possibility of HEV transmission by transfusion from donors to recipients, we recommend that routine screening for HEV should be adopted by blood banks in Sudan.


HEV IgG, blood donors, HEV risk factors, HEV IgM, HEV RT PCR, Sudan

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