Wild boars are reservoir of HEV: High prevalence among forestry workers in eastern France

September 20, 2012

Nearly one third of forestry workers in parts of eastern France are infected with Hepatitis E virus (HEV), according to a paper in the September Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Wild boars in the same region are also heavily infected. HEV is endemic in developing nations, but heretofore, HEV infection in industrialized nations has been most closely correlated with travel to developing nations.

The prevalence of HEV was found to be 14 percent among wild boar, about half that in pigs, says principal investigator Pierre Coursaget of the University of Tours, France. An earlier study found 12 percent prevalence among boar in The Netherlands. Among humans in the current study, the prevalence of anti-HEV antibodies increases with age, and varies with occupation and geographic location within eastern France. "The frequency of HEV infections in humans did not correlate with the number of pigs, locally, but there is good correlation with the number of due to wild boars," a surrogate for contact between humans and , says Coursaget. 

HEV is transmitted orally and fecally, with of 1-3 percent in the general population, rising to 20-25 percent among pregnant women. In developing countries, outbreaks appear to arise from fecally contaminated water supplies. In Japan, and in Europe, consumption of wild boar or liver is associated with a high risk of acquiring , according to the report. However, the fact that HEV is absent among children in France suggests that eating ham is safe. Coursaget says the immune system in healthy people generally eradicates the infection, and that it is not sexually transmitted. 

Deer also are known to be infected with HEV, says Coursaget. "People in contact with HEV-infected animals or their environment must be aware of the possibility of HEV infection," he says. He is currently studying HEV infection in forestry workers, veterinarians, and pig farmers in different regions of France, in an effort to quantify risk factors. The current study also compared several antibody tests for HEV, with one, the HEV ELISA test, from MP Biologicals, proving superior to the other two.

Explore further: Hyundai to Start Retail Sales of First Hybrid in July 2009

More information: A. Carpentier, et al., 2012. High hepatitis E virus seroprevalence in forestry workers and wild boars in France. J. Clin Microbiol. 50:2888-2893. bit.ly/asmtip0912e

Related Stories

Hyundai to Start Retail Sales of First Hybrid in July 2009

July 9, 2008

Hyundai Motor Company plans to start retail sales of its first LPG–electric hybrid vehicle in July 2009. To be sold initially in the Korean domestic market under the Avante badge, the Elantra LPI Hybrid Electric Vehicle ...

Chinese vaccine shields against hepatitis E - Lancet

August 23, 2010

A prototype vaccine devised and tested in China has proven 100-percent effective in preventing hepatitis E, a disease that is widespread in the developing world and can be fatal, investigators reported in The Lancet on Monday.

Juvenile diarrhea virus analyzed

July 18, 2011

Rice University scientists have defined the structure -- down to the atomic level -- of a virus that causes juvenile diarrhea. The research may help direct efforts to develop medications that block the virus before it becomes ...

Recommended for you

Researchers design first artificial ribosome

July 29, 2015

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins ...

Studies reveal details of error correction in cell division

July 29, 2015

Cell biologists led by Thomas Maresca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with collaborators elsewhere, report an advance in understanding the workings of an error correction mechanism that helps cells detect and ...

Researchers discover new type of mycovirus

July 29, 2015

Researchers, led by Dr Robert Coutts, Leverhulme Research Fellow from the School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire, and Dr Ioly Kotta-Loizou, Research Associate at Imperial College, have discovered ...

Stressed out plants send animal-like signals

July 29, 2015

University of Adelaide research has shown for the first time that, despite not having a nervous system, plants use signals normally associated with animals when they encounter stress.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.