Evidence for widespread infection of wild rats with hepatitis E virus in the United States.

Y Kabrane-LaziziHepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Search for other papers by Y Kabrane-Lazizi in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
J B FineHepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Search for other papers by J B Fine in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
J ElmHepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Search for other papers by J Elm in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
G E GlassHepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Search for other papers by G E Glass in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
H HigaHepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Search for other papers by H Higa in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
A DiwanHepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Search for other papers by A Diwan in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
C J Gibbs JrHepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Search for other papers by C J Gibbs Jr in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
X J MengHepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Search for other papers by X J Meng in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
S U EmersonHepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Search for other papers by S U Emerson in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
R H PurcellHepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Search for other papers by R H Purcell in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Hepatitis E is an important medical pathogen in many developing countries but is rarely reported from the United States, although antibody to hepatitis E virus (anti-HEV) is found in > 1% of U.S. citizens. Zoonotic spread of the virus is suspected. Sera obtained from 239 wild rats trapped in widely separated regions of the United States were tested for anti-HEV. Seventy-seven percent of rats from Maryland, 90% from Hawaii, and 44% from Louisiana were seropositive for anti-HEV. Rats from urban as well as rural areas were seropositive and the prevalence of anti-HEV IgG increased in parallel with the estimated age of the rats, leading to speculation that they might be involved in the puzzling high prevalence of anti-HEV among some U.S. city dwellers. The discovery of a in rats in the United States and the recently reported discovery that HEV is endemic in U.S. swine raise many questions about transmission, reservoirs, and strains of HEV in developed countries.

Save