J Vet Sci.  2016 Mar;17(1):1-11. 10.4142/jvs.2016.17.1.1.

Hepatitis E virus as an emerging zoonotic pathogen

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea. ischoi@konkuk.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea.

Abstract

Hepatitis E outbreaks are a serious public health concern in developing countries. The disease causes acute infections, primarily in young adults. The mortality rate is approximately 2%; however, it can exceed 20% in pregnant women in some regions in India. The causative agent, hepatitis E virus (HEV), has been isolated from several animal species, including pigs. HEV genotypes 3 and 4 have been isolated from both humans and animals, and are recognized as zoonotic pathogens. Seroprevalence studies in animals and humans indirectly suggest that HEV infections occur worldwide. The virus is primarily transmitted to humans via undercooked animal meats in developed countries. Moreover, transfusion- and transplantation-mediated HEV infections have recently been reported. This review summarizes the general characteristics of hepatitis E, HEV infection status in animals and humans, the zoonotic transmission modes of HEV, and HEV vaccine development status.

Keyword

hepatitis E; hepatitis E virus; pig; transmission; zoonotic pathogen
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