Seroepidemiology of Hepatitis E Virus Infection in Mennonites in Mexico

Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Luis Francisco Sanchez-Anguiano, Jesus Hernandez-Tinoco


Background: The seroepidemiology of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection in Mennonites has not been studied. We aimed to determine the seroprevalence of anti-HEV IgG antibodies in Mennonites in Durango, Mexico, and to compare it with the seroprevalence in general population in rural Durango. The socio-demographic, clinical and behavioral characteristics of Mennonites associated with HEV seropositivity were also investigated.

Methods: We performed a case-control study to determine the frequency of anti-HEV IgG antibodies in 150 Mennonites (mean age 38.40 ± 15.53 years old) and 150 age- and gender-matched non-Mennonites controls using an enzyme-linked immunoassay. We used a standardized questionnaire to obtain the socio-demographic, clinical and behavioral characteristics of the Mennonites.

Results: Anti-HEV IgG antibodies were detected in 10 (6.7%) of 150 Mennonites and in 61 (40.7%) of 150 controls. Seroprevalence of anti-HEV IgG antibodies was significantly lower in Mennonites than in controls (odds ratio (OR) = 0.009; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.0006 - 0.15; P < 0.000001). Logistic regression of socio-demographic and behavioral characteristics of Mennonites showed that HEV seropositivity was only associated with increasing age (OR = 1.05; 95% CI: 1.00 - 1.09; P = 0.03). While sex, birth place, residence, educational level, socio-economic status, occupation, animal contacts, foreign travel, frequency of eating away from home, consumption of raw or undercooked meat, type of meat consumed, consumption of unpasteurized milk or untreated water, and consumption of unwashed raw vegetables or fruits were not associated with HEV seropositivity. None of the Mennonites suffered from clinical hepatitis.

Conclusions: Results demonstrate: 1) serological evidence of HEV exposure in Mennonites; however, Mennonites have a lower seroprevalence of HEV antibodies than controls from the rural general population; 2) seroprevalence in Mennonites increased with age. Further studies with a larger sample size to determine more contributing factors for HEV infection in Mennonites are needed.

J Clin Med Res. 2015;7(2):103-108


Hepatitis E virus; Ethnic groups; Seroepidemiologic studies; Rural population; Case-control study; Mexico

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