Background & Aims: Namibia has been suffering from an outbreak of hepatitis E genotype 2 since 2017. As nearly half of hepatitis E-related deaths were among pregnant and postpartum women, we analysed maternal and fetal outcomes of pregnancies complicated by acute hepatitis E and assessed whether HIV-status impacted on outcome. Methods: A retrospective cross-sectional study was performed at Windhoek Hospital Complex. Pregnant and postpartum women, admitted between 13 October 2017 and 31 May 2019 with reactive IgM for Hepatitis E, were included. Outcomes were acute liver failure (ALF), maternal death, miscarriage, intra-uterine fetal death and neonatal death. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated. Results: Seventy women were included. ALF occurred in 28 (40.0%) of whom 13 died amounting to a case fatality rate of 18.6%. Sixteen women (22.9%) were HIV infected, compared to 16.8% among the general pregnant population (OR 1.47, 95% CI 0.84-2.57, P =.17). ALF occurred in 4/5 (80%) HIV infected women not adherent to antiretroviral therapy compared to 1/8 (12.5%) women adherent to antiretroviral therapy (OR 28.0, 95% CI 1.4-580.6). There were 10 miscarriages (14.3%), five intra-uterine fetal deaths (7.1%) and four neonatal deaths (5.7%). Conclusions: One in five pregnant women with Hepatitis E genotype 2 died, which is comparable to genotype 1 outbreaks. Despite small numbers, HIV infected women receiving antiretroviral therapy appear to be less likely to develop ALF in contrast with HIV infected women not on treatment. As there is currently no curative treatment, this phenomenon needs to be assessed in larger cohorts.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
There was no funding for this study.
© 2021 The Authors. Liver International published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.