Hepatitis E virus genotype 3 infection in a tertiary referral center in the Netherlands: Clinical relevance and impact on patient morbidity.J Clin Virol. 2016 Jan; 74:82-7.JC
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) genotype 3 infections can have important clinical consequences.
To evaluate patients at risk and the effect of treatment strategies, we studied the clinical course and treatment outcome in patients diagnosed with HEV viremia in our hospital.
Between January 2008 and March 2015 we included all patients with HEV genotype 3 (HEV-3) infections diagnosed by means of quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR). Clinical data were evaluated retrospectively.
In total 79 patients were included. Forty-nine patients (62%) were male, median age of all patients was 52 years (range 13-79). Sixty-one (77%) patients were immunocompromised. Three patients (3.8%) had only transient viremia, forty-three (54.5%) cleared the infection within six months and twenty-six (32.9%) developed chronic infection. Five patients (6.3%) were lost to follow-up. All patients developing chronic infection were immunocompromised. Overall, thirteen (16%) patients within this cohort died. Three patients had pre-existent liver diseases and died of liver-related causes. Time between diagnosis and death was shorter for patients with pre-existent liver diseases (p=0.03). Twenty-eight percent of patients on immunosuppressive medication achieved viral clearance after reducing the dose of immunosuppressive therapy. Thirty patients (38.0%) were treated with off-label ribavirin in which 25 (83.3%) a sustained viral response has been documented.
HEV genotype 3 viremia mainly presents in patients with underlying chronic liver diseases or an impaired immune system. Patients with pre-existent liver diseases are at high risk for complications and even death. The off-label use of ribavirin can cure HEV infection.