Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is one of the most frequent causes of acute viral hepatitis of enteric transmission worldwide. In South America the overall epidemiology has been little studied, and the burden of the disease remains largely unknown. A research of all scientific articles about HEV circulation in South America until November 2017 was carried out. Human seroprevalences of HEV varied according to the studied population: blood donors presented prevalence rates ranging from 1.8% to 9.8%, while reports from HIV-infected individuals, transplant recipients and patients on hemodialysis showed higher prevalence rates. Only 2 cases of chronic hepatitis in solid-organ transplant patients from Argentina and Brazil have been described. Detection of HEV in the swine population is widely prevalent in the region. Anti-HEV antibodies have also been recently documented in wild boars from Uruguay. Although scarce, studies focused on environmental and food HEV detection have shown viral presence in these kind of samples, highlighting possible transmission sources of HEV in the continent. HEV genotype 3 was the most frequently detected in the region, with HEV genotype 1 detected only in Venezuela and Uruguay. HEV is widely distributed throughout South America, producing sporadic cases of acute hepatitis, but as a possible agent of chronic hepatitis. Finding the virus in humans, animals, environmental samples and food, show that it can be transmitted through many sources, alerting local governments and health systems to improve diagnosis and for the implementation of preventive measures.
- South America
- hepatitis E virus