Abstract – Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an RNA virus with 4 main genotypes. HEV-1 and HEV-2 infect solely humans, while HEV-3 and HEV-4 infect humans and various animals such as pigs, deer, and rabbits. HEV-5 and HEV-6 infect mainly wild boar. Recently, new genotypes, known as HEV-7 and HEV-8, were found to infect camels and humans. HEV is globally distributed into different epidemiological patterns based on socioeconomic factors and ecology. Although HEV is mainly transmitted through the fecal-oral route, it was also recognized as a transfusion-transmitted virus. Transmission through blood donation was documented worldwide with rising annual observations, accounting for more than 2.5% of all transmissions. HEV infection is usually asymptomatic or subclinical in immunocompetent individuals, so it remains questionable whether there is an urgent need to screen for HEV prior to blood transfusion. Moreover, recent studies conducted in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region indicate that HEV is highly endemic. Here, we provide a review on HEV epidemiology, transmission, and laboratory diagnosis, giving special emphasis to the newly discovered genotypes, HEV-7 and HEV-8. Furthermore, we underscore the findings of recent HEV seroprevalence and viremia studies among blood donors worldwide. We also shed light on similar studies performed among blood donors in the MENA region.
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Article Source:?Reviews in Medical Virology