Epidemiology of hepatitis E virus in China: results from the Third National Viral Hepatitis Prevalence Survey, 2005-2006

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 31;9(10):e110837. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110837. eCollection 2014.


In China, hepatitis E virus (HEV) is prevalent and causes disease, but its epidemiological profile is not well understood. We used a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to detect total antibodies to hepatitis E virus in 15,862 serum samples collected during the Third National Viral Hepatitis Prevalence Survey. The results were analyzed to calculate estimates of HEV seroprevalence and to examine the effects of some putative risk factors. The seroprevalence of HEV in the general Chinese population during the period from 2005 through 2006 was 23.46% (95% confidence interval [CI], 18.41%-28.50%). The farming population, the age group of 15-60 year olds, and those living in the Midwest or Mideast region and in Xinjiang province had the highest seroprevalence estimates. The prevalence of HEV is high in China. The seroprevalence rate of HEV shows an unbalanced distribution among areas with different geographic location and economic development levels. The characteristics of the distribution associated may be due to the route of HEV transmission (via contaminated water or animal reservoirs). Within the same region, the seroprevalence of HEV is generally increased with age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • China / epidemiology
  • Data Collection*
  • Hepatitis E / blood
  • Hepatitis E / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis E virus / immunology
  • Hepatitis E virus / isolation & purification*
  • Hepatitis E virus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral

Grant support

This work was supported by the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, China Ministry of Health and Ministry of Science and Technology (NO: 2004BA718B01). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.