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The prevalence of anti-hepatitis E virus (HEV) and anti-hepatitis A virus (HAV), as well as the possible links with socio-demographic and other viral risks factors, were evaluated in an inmates population. The study population consisted of 973 consecutively recruited inmates of eight Italian prisons. The anti-HEV prevalence was 11.6 % (113/973). It increased significantly by age (χ(2) for linear trend: p = 0.001) and was significantly higher among non-Italian compared to Italian inmates (15.3 vs. 10.7 %, respectively). Age >40 years [odds ratio (OR) 2.1; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.4-3.1], non-Italian citizenship (OR 1.8; 95 % CI 1.1-2.9) and anti-HIV seropositivity (OR 2.2; 95 % CI 1.2-4.2) were the only factors independently associated to anti-HEV positivity by logistic regression analysis. The overall anti-HAV prevalence was 86.4 %, and was significantly higher in non-Italian compared to Italian prisoners (92.6 vs. 84.9 %, respectively; p = 0.02). Age older than 40 years (OR 3.6; 95 % CI 2.2-5.9), <5 years formal education (OR 2.1; 95 % CI 1.3-3.2) and non-Italian nationality (OR 2.7; 95 % CI 1.5-4.8) were factors independently associated to anti-HAV positivity by the logistic regression analysis. Compared to the general population, significantly higher anti-HEV and anti-HAV prevalences were observed in an inmates population in Italy. Old age and non-Italian nationality were factors independently related to both HEV and HAV exposures. This data suggest the important role of low socio-economic factors in the transmission of both infections in high-risk populations. The possible epidemiological and/or pathogenetic links between HEV and HIV exposures need to be studied further.


M Rapicetta, R Monarca, L A Kondili, P Chionne, E Madonna, G Madeddu, A Soddu, A Candido, S Carbonara, M S Mura, G Starnini, S Babudieri. Hepatitis E virus and hepatitis A virus exposures in an apparently healthy high-risk population in Italy. Infection. 2013 Feb;41(1):69-76

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PMID: 23264095

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