Transfusion-transmitted hepatitis E in a misleading context of autoimmunity and drug-induced toxicity.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an emerging infectious threat to blood safety. In recent years, there have been a number of publications delineating this threat by providing evidence of the transmissibility of this virus through transfusions. The extent of transmission and its clinical relevance are issues under debate at present. HEV usually causes a self-limiting illness which subsides in a few weeks barring a few cases where fulminant hepatic failure occurs. The virus poses a risk of higher morbidity and mortality in pregnant females, patients with pre-existing liver disease and solid organ transplant recipients. As these categories of patient often require repeated transfusions or massive transfusions, they are exposed to a greater risk of transmission of HEV. At present, there is little evidence to advocate universal screening for this virus but considering that there is no definitive treatment for HEV induced hepatitis, selective screening should be advocated in blood products for high risk recipients in endemic areas.