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J Virol Methods. 2007 Jun;142(1-2):143-50. Epub 2007 Mar 2.

Using improved technology for filter paper-based blood collection to survey wild Sika deer for antibodies to hepatitis E virus.

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Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 50 South Drive, Building 50, Bethesda, MD 20892-8009, USA.


Recent reports from Japan implicated wild Sika deer (Cervus nippon) in the zoonotic transmission of hepatitis E to humans. Seroprevalence studies were performed to determine if imported feral populations of Sika deer in Maryland and Virginia posed a similar risk of transmitting hepatitis E virus (HEV). Hunters collected blood on filter paper discs from freshly killed deer. The discs were desiccated and delivered to a collection point. The dried filters were weighed to estimate the amount of blood absorbed and were eluted and collected in one tube via a novel extraction system. The procedure was quantified and validated with negative and positive serum and blood samples obtained from domestic Sika deer before and after immunization with HEV recombinant capsid protein, respectively. None of the 155 tested samples contained antibody to HEV, suggesting that Sika deer in these populations, unlike those in Japan, do not pose a significant zoonotic threat for hepatitis E. However, the new method developed for collecting and eluting the samples should prove useful for field studies of many other pathogens.

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