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Seroprevalence of hepatitis E virus in dogs in Switzerland


Veronesi, Rebecca; Morach, Marina; Hübschke, Ella; Bachofen, Claudia; Stephan, Roger; Nüesch-Inderbinen, Magdalena (2021). Seroprevalence of hepatitis E virus in dogs in Switzerland. Zoonoses and Public Health, 68(1):8-11.

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the causative agent of an acute and in most cases self-limiting hepatitis. Of the four major HEV genotypes that infect humans, genotype 3 and 4 are zoonotic and have been identified in humans but predominantly in pigs and wild boar, which are considered the main reservoirs. However, the known host range of zoonotic HEV may be increasing to comprise additional species, including companion animals. Several studies have identified contact with dogs as a risk factor for HEV infection in humans, yet information on the occurrence of HEV in Swiss dogs is lacking. To examine a possible risk of exposure, this study was designed to assess the seroprevalence of HEV in 84 Swiss dogs. Serum and plasma samples collected from four veterinary clinics were screened for HEV-specific antibodies by HEV-antibody ELISA test kit. In addition, information of 22 dogs regarding the country of origin, the type of dog feed and any history of hunting was recorded. Samples from seropositive animals were also screened for the presence of HEV RNA by quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). Overall, 38% (32 of 84) of the dogs tested seropositive for anti-HEV, indicating exposure to HEV. Among the 22 dogs for which information was available, HEV-specific antibodies were detected in three of five dogs that were born abroad, in one of two dogs that were fed a raw meat-based diet, and in one hunting dog. No viral RNA could be detected in any of the serum and plasma samples; thus, the genotype of the strains remained undetermined. This study provides further evidence for canine exposure and susceptibility to HEV and highlights the need to further assess the risks of HEV transmission to humans with contact to dogs.

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the causative agent of an acute and in most cases self-limiting hepatitis. Of the four major HEV genotypes that infect humans, genotype 3 and 4 are zoonotic and have been identified in humans but predominantly in pigs and wild boar, which are considered the main reservoirs. However, the known host range of zoonotic HEV may be increasing to comprise additional species, including companion animals. Several studies have identified contact with dogs as a risk factor for HEV infection in humans, yet information on the occurrence of HEV in Swiss dogs is lacking. To examine a possible risk of exposure, this study was designed to assess the seroprevalence of HEV in 84 Swiss dogs. Serum and plasma samples collected from four veterinary clinics were screened for HEV-specific antibodies by HEV-antibody ELISA test kit. In addition, information of 22 dogs regarding the country of origin, the type of dog feed and any history of hunting was recorded. Samples from seropositive animals were also screened for the presence of HEV RNA by quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). Overall, 38% (32 of 84) of the dogs tested seropositive for anti-HEV, indicating exposure to HEV. Among the 22 dogs for which information was available, HEV-specific antibodies were detected in three of five dogs that were born abroad, in one of two dogs that were fed a raw meat-based diet, and in one hunting dog. No viral RNA could be detected in any of the serum and plasma samples; thus, the genotype of the strains remained undetermined. This study provides further evidence for canine exposure and susceptibility to HEV and highlights the need to further assess the risks of HEV transmission to humans with contact to dogs.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinärwissenschaftliches Institut > Institute of Food Safety and Hygiene
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinärwissenschaftliches Institut > Institute of Virology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Epidemiology
Life Sciences > General Immunology and Microbiology
Health Sciences > General Veterinary
Health Sciences > Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Health Sciences > Infectious Diseases
Uncontrolled Keywords:Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, General Immunology and Microbiology, Epidemiology, General Veterinary, Infectious Diseases
Language:English
Date:1 February 2021
Deposited On:07 Jan 2021 15:17
Last Modified:24 Jul 2024 01:38
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1863-1959
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/zph.12779
PubMed ID:33190390