National / Science & Health

Japan sees first two cases of chronic hepatitis E infection

Kyodo

Japan has had two cases of chronic hepatitis E infection, both confirmed to have been caused through blood transfusions, according to a nationwide study by the health ministry.

A woman in her 60s living in eastern Japan and a man in his 40s in the southwest contracted the virus from blood transfusions for liver transplant operations, ministry officials said Monday.

Chronic infection by hepatitis E virus is considered rare. These two cases were Japan’s first, the officials said.

The two persons are believed to have developed the infection due to the effect of immunosuppressive drugs they were taking following surgery.

Both have already recovered, the officials said.

The study covered 1,893 liver transplant patients. According to the Japanese Red Cross Society, donated blood for transfusions is tested for hepatitis E only in Hokkaido, where infections are relatively high compared with other parts of the country.