Characterization and zoonotic potential of endemic hepatitis E virus (HEV) strains in humans and animals in Hungary

Gábor Reuter, Domonka Fodor, Petra Forgách, Andrea Kátai, György Szucs

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Background: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a common cause of acute, fecally transmitted hepatitis in developing countries. Identification of HEV in indigenous human infection and in domestic pig raising the possibility that HEV infection is also a zoonosis. Objectives/study design: Molecular detection and epidemiology of HEV in humans (South-East Hungary) with acute hepatitis and in domestic (pig, cattle) and wild (boar and roe-deer) animals (countrywide) by ELISA and RT-PCR. Results: Between 2001 and 2006, a total of 116 (9.6%) of 1203 human sera were positive by HEV IgM ELISA and 13 (24.5%) of 53 samples were also confirmed by RT-PCR and sequencing. Forty-two (27.3%) of 154, 11 (34.4%) of 32 and 9 (12.2%) of 74 samples were RT-PCR-positive from swine (feces: 22.7%; liver: 30.8%), roe-deer (liver) and wild boar (liver), respectively. Except for an imported infection caused by genotype 1, 19 sequences (human: 12, swine: 4, roe-deer: 1, wild boar: 2) belong to genotype 3 HEV. Genetically identical strains were detected in human and roe-deer and in 2 other human clusters. Conclusions: HEV is an endemic agent in Hungary. Consumption of raw or undercooked meat-products is one of the possible sources of the indigenous HEV infections. Cross-species infection with genotype 3 HEV potentially involves a food-borne transmission route in Hungary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-281
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009



  • Endemic
  • Food-borne
  • Hepatitis E virus
  • Zoonosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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