Sero-prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis E virus infection among pregnant women in the Cape Coast Metropolis, Ghana.

Obiri-Yeboah D, Asante Awuku Y, Adu J, Pappoe F, Obboh E, Nsiah P, Amoako-Sakyi D, Simpore J. PLoS One. 2018 Jan 25 ;13(1):e0191685. doi : 10.1371/journal.pone.0191685. eCollection 2018. PMID : 29370271 ;

BACKGROUND : Hepatitis E virus is an emerging infection in Africa with poor maternal and foetal outcomes. There is scanty data on the sero-prevalence of HEV infection among pregnant women in Ghana. This study highlighted the prevalence and risk factors associated with HEV infection among pregnant women in Cape Coast Metropolis, Central Region of Ghana.
METHODS : A multicenter (3 selected sites) analytical cross sectional study involving 398 pregnant women in the Cape Coast metropolis was conducted. HEV (Anti-HEV IgG and Anti-HEV IgM) ELISA was performed. Sero-positive women had liver chemistries done and data collected on maternal and neonatal outcomes. Data analyses were performed using Stata version 13 software (STATA Corp, Texas USA).
RESULTS : Mean age was 28.01 (± 5.93) years. HEV sero-prevalence was 12.2% (n = 48) for IgG and 0.2% (n = 1) for IgM with overall of 12.3%. The odds of being HEV sero-positive for women aged 26-35 years was 3.1 (95% CI : 1.1-8.1), p = 0.02 and ≥36 years it was 10.7 (95% CI ; 3.4-33.5), p = 0.0001. Living in urban settlement was associated with lowest odds of HEV infection OR 0.4 (95% CI ; 0.2-0.8), p = 0.01. Factors with no statistical evidence of association include main source of drinking water and history of blood transfusion. The sero-prevalence of HEV IgG increased progressively across trimesters with the highest among women in their third trimester (55.3%). None of the 49 HEV sero-positive women had elevated ALT level. Ten (N = 41) of the neonates born to sero-positive women developed jaundice in the neonatal period. The mean birth weight was 3.1kg (SD 0.4).
CONCLUSION : HEV sero-prevalence among pregnant women in the Cape Coast Metropolis is high enough to deserve more attention than it has received so far. It is therefore important to conduct further research on the potential impact on maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity in Ghana.

PMID : 29370271 ; PMCID : PMC5784989 ;
DOI : 10.1371/journal.pone.0191685

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