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Hepatitis E virus infection in equines in Spain

García‐Bocanegra, Ignacio, Rivero, Antonio, Caballero‐Gómez, Javier, López‐López, Pedro, Cano‐Terriza, David, Frías, Mario, Jiménez‐Ruiz, Saul, Risalde, Maria A., Gómez‐Villamandos, Jose C., Rivero‐Juarez, Antonio
Transboundary and emerging diseases 2019 v.66 no.1 pp. 66-71
Orthohepevirus A, blood serum, humans, hepatitis E, herds, hosts, emerging diseases, mules, phylogeny, asses, viruses, genotype, RNA, horses, swine, Spain
Hepatitis E (HE) is an important emerging disease in European countries. To analyse the role of equids as potential reservoirs for HE virus (HEV), we determined the prevalence of HEV infection in 861 equines from 464 herds in Spain. HEV RNA in serum was detected in 0.4% (3/692) of horses, 1.2% (1/86) of donkeys and 3.6% (3/83) of mules. Phylogenetic analysis identified the zoonotic genotype 3 as being closely related to viral human and swine strains. In this first report on HEV in equids in Europe, we confirm the susceptibility of horses, donkeys and mules to HEV infection. The low prevalence detected indicates that equids may be considered spillover hosts rather than true reservoirs.