Hepatitis E in immunocompromised individuals

Konstantinos Damiris, Mohamad Aghaie Meybodi, Mumtaz Niazi, Nikolaos Pyrsopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) originally identified as a cause of acute icteric hepatitis in developing countries has grown to be a cause of zoonotic viral hepatitis in developed countries such as the United States. While there are eight identified genotypes to date, genotype 1 (HEV1), HEV2, HEV3, HEV4 are the most common to infect humans. HEV1 and HEV2 are most common in developing countries including Latina America, Africa and Asia, and are commonly transmitted through contaminated water supplies leading to regional outbreaks. In contrast HEV3 and HEV4 circulate freely in many mammalian animals and can lead to occasional transmission to humans through fecal contamination or consumption of undercooked meat. The incidence and prevalence of HEV in the United States is undetermined given the absence of FDA approved serological assays and the lack of commercially available testing. In majority of cases, HEV infection is a selflimiting hepatitis requiring only symptomatic treatment. However, this is not the case in immunocompromised individuals, including those that have undergone solid organ or stem cell transplantation. In this subset of patients, chronic infection can be life threatening as hepatic insult can lead to inflammation and fibrosis with subsequent cirrhosis and death. The need for re-transplantation as a result of post-transplant hepatitis is of great concern. In addition, there have been many reported incidents of extrahepatic manifestations, for which the exact mechanisms remain to be elucidated. The cornerstone of treatment in immunocompromised solid organ transplant recipients is reduction of immunosuppressive therapies, while attempting to minimize the risk of organ rejection. Subsequent treatment options include ribavirin, and pegylated interferon alpha in those who have demonstrated ribavirin resistance. Further investigation assessing safety and efficacy of anti-viral therapy is imperative given the rising global health burden. Given this concern, vaccination has been approved in China with other investigations underway throughout the world. In this review we introduce the epidemiology, diagnosis, clinical manifestations, and treatment of HEV, with emphasis on immunocompromised individuals in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-494
Number of pages13
JournalWorld Journal of Hepatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hepatology


  • Acute hepatitis
  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Hepatitis E
  • Hepatitis E virus
  • Immunocompromised
  • Liver transplant


Dive into the research topics of 'Hepatitis E in immunocompromised individuals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this