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J Vet Med Sci. 2016 Dec 1;78(11):1677-1681. Epub 2016 Aug 7.

Serological evidence of infection with rodent-borne hepatitis E virus HEV-C1 or antigenically related virus in humans.

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Department of Microbiology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Kita-15, Nishi-7, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-8638, Japan.


Zoonotic potential of a rat-derived hepatitis E virus (HEV), designated as HEV-C1, remains unknown. To evaluate the risk for HEV-C1 infection in humans, paired sera of 208 hospitalized febrile patients collected from 2001 to 2003 in Hanoi, Vietnam, were examined for IgG antibodies to HEV-C1 and genotype 1 HEV (HEV-1), which is common in humans. IgG antibodies to virus-like particles (VLPs) of HEV-C1 and/or HEV-1 were detected from 99 of the 208 convalescent sera in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). IgG antibody titers to HEV-C1 antigen in 3 of the 99 sera were more than 8-fold higher than those to HEV-1 antigen. IgM antibodies to HEV-C1 antigen were detected in acute sera from 2 of the 3 patients in ELISA and Western blotting. However, no HEV genome was detected. Clinical information was available for 1 of the 2 patients. Hepatic enzymes, aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase, were mildly elevated (156 IU/l and 68 IU/l, respectively), and hepatomegaly was detected by ultrasonography. The patient recovered from the illness after 17 days. These results indicated that HEV-C1 or its variants infect humans in Vietnam and may cause acute febrile illness with mild liver dysfunction.

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