Indexed on: 31 Mar '09Published on: 31 Mar '09Published in: Food and Environmental Virology
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a fecal-orally transmitted virus that is endemic in many geographical areas with poor sanitary conditions and inadequate water supplies. In Europe, a low-endemic area, an increased number of autochthonous sporadic human cases of patients infected with HEV strains of genotype 3, have been reported lately. The relatively high prevalence of HEV genotype 3 infections in European pigs has raised concerns about a potential zoonotic transmission to humans. Determination of HEV seroprevalence in pigs would help to clarify its incidence and possible zoonotic implications. To this purpose, we have expressed and partially characterized swine genotype 3 HEV open reading frame-2 proteins upon infection of Sf21 insect cells with recombinant baculoviruses. The use of the expressed proteins as diagnostic antigens for the detection of antibodies to HEV has been further assayed with human and swine sera.