Volume 48, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



A study was conducted to determine the etiology of acute hepatitis among 261 children (age range 1–11 years) living in Cairo, Egypt. A blood sample was obtained from each subject when initially evaluated and a questionnaire was used to collect demographic and risk factor data. Sera were tested by enzyme immunoassay for acute hepatitis A (anti-hepatitis A virus IgM), hepatitis B (anti-hepatitis B core antigen IgM and hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg]), hepatitis C (total anti-HCV), delta hepatitis (total anti-delta), and cytomegalovirus infection (anti-CMV IgM). In addition, hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection was diagnosed using a new Western blot technique to test patients with non-A, non-B hepatitis for anti-HEV IgM. Among 261 children, acute hepatitis A was diagnosed in 85 (32.6%) patients, acute hepatitis B in 19 (7.3%), delta hepatitis in 3 (1.1%), mixed hepatitis A and B infection in 2 (0.8%), CMV infection in 1 (0.4%), hepatitis E in 58 (22.2%), and non-A, non-B hepatitis of unknown type in 51 (19.5%). Forty-two (16.1%) subjects had HBsAg without other markers of acute infection. Risk factor analysis indicated that patients living in homes not connected to a municipal source of water were at increased risk of hepatitis E infection. These data provide additional evidence that hepatitis E virus is a common cause of acute sporadic hepatitis in children living in Egypt.


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