Background. Patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) may experience spontaneous biochemical flares of liver disease activity. This study aimed to determine (i) the prevalence of prior and possible acute hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection among persons with chronic HBV and (ii) whether HEV infection is associated with liver disease flares among persons with chronic HBV. Methods. Serum from a random sample of 600 adults in the Hepatitis B Research Network Cohort Study was tested for HEV RNA and anti-HEV IgM and IgG. Logistic regression models were used to estimate crude and adjusted odds ratios of anti-HEV prevalence for participant characteristics. Results. Anti-HEV IgG and IgM seroprevalence was 28.5% and 1.7%, respectively. No participants had detectable HEV RNA. Of the 10 anti-HEV IgM+ participants, only 1 had elevated serum ALT at seroconversion. The odds of anti-HEV seropositivity (IgG+ or IgM+) were higher in older participants, males, Asians, less educated people, and those born outside the United States and Canada. Conclusions. Acute HEV infection is a rare cause of serum ALT flares among persons with chronic HBV. The high seroprevalence of anti-HEV IgG among the chronic HBV patients is strongly associated with various demographic factors in this largely Asian American cohort.
- Acute hepatitis
- Alanine aminotransferase