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The Current Host Range of Hepatitis E Viruses

Kenney, Scott P
Viruses 2019 v.11 no.5
Orthohepevirus A, developed countries, developing countries, direct contact, feces, genotype, hepatitis E, host range, hosts, human health, humans, meat products, oral exposure, pathogens, swine, virus transmission, viruses
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an emerging zoonotic pathogen transmitting both human to human via the fecal oral route and from animals to humans through feces, direct contact, and consumption of contaminated meat products. Understanding the host range of the virus is critical for determining where potential threats to human health may be emerging from and where potential reservoirs for viral persistence in the environment may be hiding. Initially thought to be a human specific disease endemic to developing countries, the identification of swine as a primary host for genotypes 3 and 4 HEV in industrialized countries has begun a long journey of discovering novel strains of HEV and their animal hosts. As we continue identifying new strains of HEV in disparate animal species, it is becoming abundantly clear that HEV has a broad host range and many of these HEV strains can cross between differing animal species. These cross-species transmitting strains pose many unique challenges to human health as they are often unrecognized as sources of viral transmission.