PLoS One. 2022 Aug 5;17(8):e0272809. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0272809. eCollection 2022.
In the United States (U.S.), a hepatitis E virus (HEV) seroprevalence between 6 and 21% has been described, with a decreasing trend. We aimed to investigate HEV infection in the U.S. population from 2009 to 2016, and examine the differences in seroprevalence using different assays. We used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-CDC) to estimate HEV seroprevalence and analyze demographic variables related to the infection. Additionally, we compared 4 serological tests used. The estimated HEV seroprevalence between 2009-2016 was 6.1% (95% CI: 5.6%-7.0%) for IgG and 1.02% (0.8%-1.2%) for IgM. Higher HEV IgG prevalences were found in older people, females, non-Hispanic Asians and those born outside of the U.S. The in-house immunoassay and the Wantai HEV-IgG ELISA presented the highest sensitivity values in the tested population. The highest specificity values corresponded to the DSI-EIA-ANTI-HEV-IgG assay. The kappa statistical values showed concordances no greater than 0.64 between the assays. HEV prevalence in our study was similar to previously reported, and a decline in the prevalence was observed through the NHANES assessments (from 1988 to 2016). The sensitivity and specificity of the assays varied widely, making comparisons difficult and highlighting the need to develop a gold standard assay.