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Open Access Research article

Seroprevalence of anti-hepatitis E virus (HEV) in a Korean population: comparison of two commercial anti-HEV assays

Hyun Kyung Park1, Sook-Hyang Jeong14*, Jin-Wook Kim1, Byung-Hyun Woo1, Dong Ho Lee12, Hyun Young Kim2 and Soyeon Ahn3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Gumi-dong 300, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

2 Health Promotion Center, Gumi-dong 300, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

3 Medical Research Collaborating Center, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Gumi-dong 300, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

4 Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Gumi-dong 300, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:142  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-142

Published: 22 June 2012

Abstract

Background

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) has emerged as an important cause of epidemic and sporadic acute viral hepatitis worldwide. This study investigated the seroprevalence of anti-HEV in a Korean population and compared the performance of two commercially available anti-HEV assays.

Methods

A total 147 health-check examinees were randomly sampled as matched to the age- and sex- adjusted standard population based on the Korean National Census of 2007. Serum immunoglobulin G anti-HEV was determined by using the Genelabs assay (Genelabs, Singapore) and the Wantai assay (Wantai, Beijing, China).

Results

The overall anti-HEV seroprevalence was 23.1% (95% CI, 16.1-30.1%) using the Wantai assay and 14.3% (95% CI, 8.3-20.3%) using the Genelabs assay. Only 12 samples (8.1%) were positive for anti-HEV as measured by both assays; agreement between the two assays was poor (kappa value of 0.315). The anti-HEV seroprevalence increased with age from 2% and 3% in the people younger than 20-years-of-age to 34.6% and 42.3% in those over 59-years-of-age by the Genelabs and Wantai assay, respectively.

Conclusions

The HEV seroprevalence in Korean population is about 20% overall, with seroprevalence increasing in this population with increasing age. There was poor concordance in the results of the Genelabs and Wantai assays, which warrants further study concerning a reliable diagnostic test for the diagnosis of hepatitis E.

Keywords:
Hepatitis E virus; Seroprevalence; Anti-HEV assay; Korea