Study on Seroprevalence of Hepatitis E in Nepal

Hepatitis E is primarily a waterborne disease transmitted by fecal-to-oral route and a major public health concern in developing countries. Yet, due to limited surveillance capacity and suboptimal access to laboratory diagnostics, many infections, especially mild symptomatic cases, are left undetected and hence under-reported. In systematic review conducted in 2020, approximately 939 million corresponding to 1 in 8 individuals have ever experienced HEV infection globally and 15‐110 million individuals have recent or ongoing HEV infection. These finding highlights there is substantial burden of HEV infection globally, especially in low- and middle-income countries. In Nepal, some studies have seen prevalence of HEV and other Hepatitis Virus. In one of the studies among blood donor in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Kavre, 3.2% were HEV IgM positive while 41.9% were positive for IgG. The study concluded that previous exposure to HEV in Nepalese blood donors is relatively high. Similarly, another study identified HEV as major causative agent among acute viral hepatitis (AVH) patients in a hospital in Kathmandu.

Study Duration: 07/2022-Present

Objectives:
We aim to estimate the seroprevalence of hepatitis E using existing samples collected from a previously conducted cross-sectional survey in Nepal and to identify risk factors associated with hepatitis E

Outcomes:
This study is still underway. We expect to understand the seropositivity of HEV in Nepal among different age groups and ecological zones. Additionally, from the research work, additional research staffs will obtain capacity building trainings.

Team Members:

Co-Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Dipesh Tamrakar and Dr. Daniel Chulwoo Rhee

Co-Investigator(s): Dr. Rajeev Shrestha, Nishan Katuwal, Jacqueline Kyungah Lim, Dr. Julia Lynch, Dr. Nimesh Poudyal, Dr. Ritu Amatya

Project Coordinator: Nishan Katuwal

Research Assistant(s): Aastha Shrestha, Urusha Ranjit

Supported by: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Collaborating Partners: International Vaccine Institute (IVI), South Korea