Hepatitis E prevalence in French Polynesian blood donors

PLoS One. 2018 Dec 7;13(12):e0208934. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0208934. eCollection 2018.


The HEV seroprevalence in mainland France is elevated (22.4%). In contrast, anti-HEV seroprevalence appears to be lower in Oceania. However, none is available for French Polynesia. We assessed the anti-HEV IgG and IgM prevalence on samples from 300 consecutive blood donors living on Tahiti and Moorea islands. Epidemiological information was collected using a specific questionnaire. Overall IgM seroprevalence was 0.6% and overall IgG seroprevalence was 7.7%. The presence of anti-HEV IgG was associated with increasing age (p = 0.01), eating chicken offal (p = 0.01) and cooked rabbit (p = 0.02). Conversely, eating fafaru-traditional Polynesian condiment-was associated with a lower rate of anti-HEV IgG (p<0.01).). All donors who surfed or practiced va'a (traditional outrigger canoë) were HEV seronegative. The Polynesian lifestyle and the particular food consumption patterns-especially the very well cooked pork-may be the key to understand the low HEV seroprevalence in French Polynesia.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Donors*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis Antibodies / blood
  • Hepatitis E / blood*
  • Hepatitis E / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis E / virology
  • Hepatitis E virus / isolation & purification*
  • Hepatitis E virus / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polynesia / epidemiology
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Hepatitis Antibodies

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.