Testing for IgM antibodies against the hepatitis E virus is used for laboratory diagnosis and confirmation of acute or recent virus infection.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) causes an acute, usually self-limited, infection. This small RNA virus is transmitted from animals (e.g. pigs) to humans via the fecal-oral route. Hepatitis E virus is endemic in regions of Asia and Africa and in developed countries it mainly occurs in people who have traveled to endemic areas. Although there is no carrier status for the HEV virus, immunosuppressed patients may have prolonged periods (eg months) of viremia and fecal excretion.
In immunosuppressed patients, viremia and fecal excretion of the virus occur in the pre-icteric phase and last up to 10 days after the start of the clinical phase. After an incubation period ranging from 15 to 60 days, patients with HEV develop symptoms of hepatitis, with the appearance of specific anti-HEV IgM antibodies in the serum, followed by specific anti-HEV IgG within a few days. Anti-HEV IgM may remain detectable for up to 6 months after the onset of symptoms, whereas anti-HEV IgG usually persists for many years after infection.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.