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Virologica Sinica, 33 (2) : 197, 2018
First Serological Evidence on Endemicity of HEV Infection in Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) Populations from Portugal
1 Laboratory of Virology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal
2 Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Clinical Pathology Unit, Hospital and University Centre of Coimbra, 3000-602 Coimbra, Portugal
3 Infectious Diseases Department, Hospital and University Centre of Coimbra, 3000-075 Coimbra, Portugal
4 Biology Department and CESAM, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
5 Clinical Laboratory, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal
6 Research Centre on Chemical Processes Engineering and Forest Products (CIEPQF), Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, 3030-790 Coimbra, Portugal
 Correspondence: anamatos@ci.uc.pt
Hunting is a common and popular pastime in Portugal. Hunted animals are, generally, for human consumption as meat or local products that are consumed without cooking, increasing the risk of zoonotic transmission of several infectious agents. The present study intended to characterize HEV infection in hunted wild boars (species Sus scrofa) from two regions of Portugal in order to estimate its importance as reservoir for zoonotic spread of HEV to humans, and its possible implication in public health. Markers for both past and/or ongoing HEV infection were evaluated in serum, bile and stool samples of 29 wild boars. The presence of specific HEV antibodies as marker of past infection was evaluated in serum samples, while active HEV infection was evaluated through the detection of HEV genome in bile and stool samples. HEV specific antibodies were detected in 14% of the studied animals, while none of the tested bile or stool samples revealed detectable HEV genome. Despite no active HEV infection was demonstrated in the hunted animals included in the present study, serological analysis revealed the endemicity of HEV infection in Portuguese wild boars from the studied regions, corroborating its possible role as zoonotic reservoir of such virus. The proved endemicity of HEV infection among wild boars further support the importance of including HEV in national and regional surveillance programs for wild animal diseases, as well as to the awareness for thorough cook all wild boar products and to the education of occupationally exposed people in order to prevent HEV infection.
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Received: 12 Jun 2017  Accepted: 8 Jan 2018  Published online: 22 Mar 2018
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