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Hepatitis E Virus Infection among Animals and Humans in Xinjiang, China: Possibility of Swine to Human Transmission of Sporadic Hepatitis E in an Endemic Area

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  • Department of Microbiology, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China; Clinical Laboratory, People's Hospital of Qiemo County, Qiemo, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China; Clinical Laboratory, Central Hospital of Kelamayi, Kelamayi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China
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Hepatitis E is a worldwide public health problem, especially in areas with poor sanitation. This study examines the potential hepatitis E virus (HEV) animal reservoirs and the current status of HEV infection among animals and humans in an endemic area of Xinjiang, China. One thousand five hundred twenty-one serum samples from 12 different animal species and 296 sera from humans were detected for anti-HEV with an in-house enzyme immunoassay, and partial HEV RNA was amplified with a reverse transcription–nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-nPCR). All these distinct animal species, except jerboa and hoptoad, were positive for anti-HEV. However, HEV RNA was only amplified from pigs and a sporadic hepatitis E case in humans. The human HEV strain (CHN-XJ-HE29) shared 100% nucleotide identity with the swine HEV strain (CHN-XJ-SW50), both of which were collected from the same district; this indicates the possibility of HEV transmission from swine to humans in an endemic area.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Hui Zhuang, Department of Microbiology, Peking University Health Science Center, No.38 Xueyuanlu, Haidian District, Beijing 100191, China, E-mail: zhuangbmu@126.com or Yonghong Zhu, Department of Microbiology, Peking University Health Science Center, No. 38 Xueyuanlu, Haidian District, Beijing 100191, China, Email: zhuyh@bjmu.edu.cn.

Financial support: This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 30570063) and the 863 National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (Grant 2006A A02Z453).

Authors' addresses: Hongwei Fu, Lingjun Li, Yonghong Zhu, Ling Wang, Jiabao Geng, Yibin Chang, and Hui Zhuang, Department of Microbiology, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China, E-mails: frankson@bjmu.edu.cn, lingjunli@nus.edu.sg, zhuyh@bjmu.edu.cn, lingwang@bjmu.edu.cn, Gengjiabao666@126.com, Ningbing265@163.com, and zhuangbmu@126.com. Cheng Xue, Clinical Laboratory, People's Hospital of Qiemo County, Qiemo, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, E-mail: xuecheng@163.com. Gang Du and Yaning Li, Clinical Laboratory, Central Hospital of Kelamayi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, Kelamayi, China, E-mails: dugang12345678@126.com and liyaning1220@163.com.

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