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Open Access Short Report

A fatal case of acute hepatitis E among pregnant women, Central African Republic

Charles M Goumba1, Emmanuel R Yandoko-Nakouné2 and Narcisse P Komas3*

Author Affiliations

1 Service de Gynécologie-Obstétrique, Hôpital Communautaire de Bangui, PO Box 1379, Central African Republic

2 Emerging Diseases Laboratory, Institut Pasteur de Bangui, Avenue de l'Indépendance x Rue Louis Pasteur, PO Box 923, Bangui, Central African Republic

3 Viral Hepatitis Laboratory, Institut Pasteur de Bangui, Avenue de l'Indépendance x Rue Louis Pasteur, PO Box 923, Bangui, Central African Republic

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:103  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-103

Published: 15 April 2010

Abstract

Background

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a major public health problem in developing countries. HEV infection in pregnant women is more common and more often fatal in the third trimester. The mortality rate due to HEV-induced hepatitis is as high as 15-20 per cent. The present study was designed to determine the potential factors responsible for high mortality rate among pregnant women.

Findings

Twenty one pregnant women attended the Maternity Center of Begoua in the Central African Republic during an outbreak of hepatitis E virus between July and October 2002 with symptoms of acute liver disease. Their mean gestational period was 29.9 (SD 8.3 weeks) and they were aged from 15 to 39 years old. The serology IgM showed that seven women (33%) had acute hepatitis E. Among them, one woman, aged 35 and her newborn died after an apparently normal preterm delivery. The 6 remaining young women, age 18 - 22, had preterm deliveries which included three live babies and three stillborn with one macerated.

Conclusions

These results suggest that maternal age, in addition to hormonal, immunological and environmental factors, may be a risk factor for fatal outcome.