Objective: Swine hepatitis E virus (HEV) is considered to be a new zoonotic agent due to its close genomic resemblance to the human HEV. The aim of this study was to determine human HEV seroprevalence in eastern Romania and to characterize circulating swine HEV sequences.
Methods: Serological investigations of human serum samples were done using a commercial ELISA kit (MP Biomedicals). Swine faecal samples were tested to detect the HEV ORF2 sequence by nested reverse transcription PCR.
Results: One hundred and forty-eight human serum samples were tested for anti-HEV IgG of which 22 were found to be positive. Fresh swine faeces (pools) were collected from five farms in eastern Romania. Six out of 19 pooled samples were positive for HEV RNA. Phylogenetic analysis based on alignment of the ORF2 sequence indicated that the Romanian swine HEV isolates belonged to genotype 3.
Conclusions: This is the first study showing HEV to be present in Romanian pig herds and that the human population is exposed.
Keywords: Hepatitis E virus; Human; PCR; Seroprevalence; Swine.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.