SEN virus (SEN‐V) is a recently identified single‐stranded, circular DNA virus. Two SEN‐V variants (SENV‐D and SENV‐H) were assayed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to investigate their role in the causation of transfusion‐associated non–A to E hepatitis. The incidence of SEN‐V infection after transfusion was 30% (86 of 286) compared with 3% (3 of 97) among nontransfused controls (P < .001). Transfusion risk increased with the number of units transfused (P < .0001) and donor‐recipient linkage for SEN‐V was shown by sequence homology. The prevalence of SEN‐V in 436 volunteer donors was 1.8%. Among patients with transfusion‐associated non–A to E hepatitis, 11 of 12 (92%) were infected with SEN‐V at the time of transfusion compared with 55 of 225 (24%) identically followed recipients who did not develop hepatitis (P < .001). No effect of SEN‐V on the severity or persistence of coexistent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was observed. In 31 infected recipients, SEN‐V persisted for greater than 1 year in 45% and for up to 12 years in 13%. SEN‐V–specific RNA (a possible replicative intermediate) was recovered from liver tissue. In summary, SENV‐D and ‐H were present in nearly 2% of US donors, and were unequivocally transmitted by transfusion and frequently persisted. The strong association of SEN‐V with transfusion‐associated non–A to E hepatitis compared with controls raises the possibility, but does not establish that SEN‐V might be a causative agent of posttransfusion hepatitis. The vast majority of SEN‐V–infected recipients did not develop hepatitis. (HEPATOLOGY 2001;33:1303‐1311.)
Hepatology – Wiley
Published: May 1, 2001
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