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Detection of Hepatitis E Virus Antibodies in Dogs in the United Kingdom.



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McElroy, Aoife 
Hiraide, Rintaro 
Bexfield, Nick 
Jalal, Hamid 
Brownlie, Joe 


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) genotypes 3 and 4 are zoonotic pathogens, with pigs predominantly implicated in disease transmission. The rapid rise in human cases in developed countries over the past decade indicates a change in epidemiology of HEV, and it has been suggested that additional animal species may be involved in transmission of infection. Multiple studies have identified contact with dogs as a risk factor for HEV infection in industrialised nations, and a low seroprevalence to HEV has previously been reported in dogs in low-income countries. In this study we aimed to evaluate the possibility that dogs are susceptible to HEV, and determine the frequency with which this occurs. Serum samples from UK dogs with and without hepatitis were screened for HEV-specific antibodies, and canine liver and stool samples were analysed by qPCR for the presence of HEV RNA. We describe evidence to show HEV infection occurs at low levels in dogs in the UK, but the strain of origin is undetermined. The low seroprevalence level of HEV in dogs implies the risk of zoonotic disease transmission is likely to be limited, but further investigations will be required to determine if HEV-infected dogs can transmit HEV to man.



Animals, Dog Diseases, Dogs, Genotype, Hepatitis Antibodies, Hepatitis E, Hepatitis E virus, Humans, Norovirus, RNA, Viral, Seroepidemiologic Studies, United Kingdom

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PLoS One

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Public Library of Science (PLoS)
This project was made possible by a Wellcome Trust Vacation Scholarship to AM, and was supported by a PhD studentship from the Medical Research Council to SC, a Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellowship to NB (Ref: WT088619MA) and a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship to IG (Ref: WT097997MA).