A Ten Year Immunopersistence Study of Hepatitis E Antibodies in Rural Bangladesh

Brittany L Kmush, K Zaman, Md Yunus, Parimalendu Saha, Kenrad E Nelson, Alain B Labrique

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9 Scopus citations


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a major cause of acute, viral hepatitis in Southeast Asia. Several studies have suggested that antibody persistence after HEV infection may be transient, possibly increasing the risk of re-infection and contributing to the frequency of outbreaks in HEV endemic regions. The specific conditions under which antibodies to HEV are lost, or "sero-reversion" occurs, are poorly understood. Here, one hundred participants from population-based studies in rural Bangladesh were revisited in 2015, ten years after a documented HEV infection to examine long-term antibody persistence. Twenty percent (95% confidence interval: 12.0, 28.0) no longer had detectable antibodies at follow-up, suggesting that antibodies generally persist for at least a decade after infection in rural Bangladesh. Those who were seronegative at follow-up were generally younger at infection than those who remained positive (14.4 years versus 33.6 years, P > 0.0001). This age-dependent antibody loss could partially explain cross-sectional sero-prevalence data from South East Asia where children have reportedly low antibody prevalence. The results of this study provide new insight into the immunological persistence of HEV infection in a micronutrient deficient rural population of South Asia, highlighting the importance of age at infection in the ability to produce long-lasting antibodies against HEV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
StateE-pub ahead of print - Mar 23 2018
Externally publishedYes


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