In the spring of 1994, the occurrence of Hepatitis E virus antibodies was evaluated in 653 subjects representing all age-groups in the general population of a Central Italian town, where a high hepatitis C virus prevalence had been reported. The overall anti-HEV prevalence was 2.6% ranging from 1.4% in the 30-49 age-group to 5.7% (p < 0.01) in the 60-70 age-group; none of the subjects under 30 years of age were positive. Sociodemographic variables, such as family size and years of schooling were not associated with HEV exposure. Anti-HEV positivity was found in 1.8% (1/56) of the subjects who were positive for anti-HCV and in 2.7% (16/597) of those who were anti-HCV negative (O.R 1.5; C.I.: 95% = 0.2-11.7). Thus no association was found between HEV and HCV infections. These data suggest a past spread of HEV in this area and underline the occurrence of long-lasting antibodies in infected subjects.