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Hepatitis E Virus May Cause Acute Liver Dysfunction in HIV

Last Updated: March 12, 2012.

For HIV-infected individuals, hepatitis E virus is one cause of acute liver dysfunction, accounting for 4 percent of acute liver abnormalities, according to a study published in the March issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

MONDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- For HIV-infected individuals, hepatitis E virus (HEV) is one cause of acute liver dysfunction, accounting for 4 percent of acute liver abnormalities, according to a study published in the March issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

To determine whether HEV is a cause of hepatitis among HIV-infected individuals, Nancy F. Crum-Cianflone, M.D., M.P.H., of the Naval Medical Center San Diego, and associates conducted a retrospective study of 458 HIV-infected U.S. military beneficiaries, with acute increases in their alanine aminotransferase levels, during the HIV epidemic (1985 to 2009). Of the participants, 194 had serum samples available for HEV testing.

The researchers found that seven HIV-infected individuals had evidence of acute HEV infection (4 percent); five participants had evidence of prior HEV infection (3 percent). None of the participants developed chronic HEV infection.

"HEV infection accounted for 4 percent of acute liver abnormalities among HIV-infected persons," the authors write. "Overall, on the basis of our study and data from other industrialized countries, HEV is a cause of liver abnormalities in HIV-infected persons but does not seem to be more common in this population than in the general population."

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