Hepatitis E is associated with high mortality rates in pregnant women who suffer acute liver failure (ALF) as a result of the viral infection. Researchers from the University of Delhi recently published a study in the Journal of Medical Virology on the possible connection between viral load and ALF in pregnancy.
The study participants included pregnant and non-pregnant women, girls and men. The active group of the study was made up of 163 patients of which 105 were pregnancy and suffering ALF associated with the hepatitis E virus. The active group results were compared to a control group of 730 participants of which 220 were pregnant.
Conclusion: The viral load in pregnant women with acute viral hepatitis (AVH) and ALF was significantly higher than the viral load measured in non-pregnant women. There was also a statistically significant difference between viral load in pregnant women with AVH and ALF with higher loads measured in women with liver failure. Researchers believe increased viral load during pregnancy could be to blame for higher mortality rates.
Source: Borkakoti J, Hazam RK, Mohammad A, Kumar A, Kar P. Does high viral load of hepatitis E virus influence the severity and prognosis of ALF during pregnancy? J Med Virol. 2013 Apr;85(4):620-6. doi: 10.1002/jmv.23508. Epub 2012 Dec 26.