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Analysis for hepatitis E: IgG and IgM antibodies to HEV in the blood
Medical expert of the article
Viral hepatitis E causes the hepatitis E virus (HEV) - an RNA-containing virus. The disease is characterized by a fecal-oral route of transmission, predominantly aquatic. The incubation period of the disease is about 35 days. The clinical course of acute viral hepatitis E is similar to the course of viral hepatitis A. Much heavier the disease occurs in pregnant women, especially in the third trimester. RNA HEV appears in the blood 2-3 weeks after infection. Viralemia indicates the fact of infection and lasts on average for 3 months, less often - up to 6 months.
For specific diagnostics of viral hepatitis E, the ELISA method based on the detection of IgM antibodies (anti-HEV IgM), which appears in the blood 3-4 weeks after infection (10-12th day from the onset of clinical manifestations of the disease) is used. Detection of anti-HEV IgM in the blood serves as a laboratory confirmation of the diagnosis. They are detected in 90% of patients with acute infection within 1-4 weeks from the onset of the disease. Anti-HEV IgM disappear from the blood for several months. After 3 months from the onset of the disease, antibodies are detected only in 50% of patients, and after 6-7 months - in 6-7%. IgG antibodies in viral hepatitis E are detected in the blood at the height of the disease, during recovery they reach the highest values (detectable in 93-95% of patients). The presence of only IgG antibodies can not be considered a confirmation of the diagnosis of viral hepatitis E.