Public health

First case of Hep E to be transferred by blood in Australia

Wednesday, 19 Apr 2017

A six-year-old boy has contracted hepatitis E after receiving donated plasma used during a liver transplant operation.

According to a report published in the Medical Journal of Australia the case is the first confirmed Australian case of transmission by transfusion.

The donor is thought to have contracted the virus after eating pork in the South of France, a region thought to have a high prevalence of  hepatitis E.

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service, PathWest Laboratory, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth, and the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Melbourne who documented the case advised clinicians to be alert to the possibility of HEV infection.

“Chronic infection can occur in immunocompromised individuals and may lead to cirrhosis; however, early recognition and treatment generally results in viral clearance,” they said.

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