Seroprevalence and molecular detection of hepatitis E virus in wild boar and red deer in The Netherlands.J Virol Methods. 2010 Sep; 168(1-2):197-206.JV
To date, sources of hepatitis E virus (HEV) in the Netherlands, including swine and wild boar, have been identified, but no direct attribution to Dutch hepatitis E cases have been demonstrated. Other animal sources may exist. To identify these species, HEV RNA detection by RT-PCR is required, but complicated. A preselection based on serology may be useful. Therefore, wildlife species were studied by serology and molecular methods. Using a species-independent double-antigen sandwich ELISA, HEV-specific antibodies were detected in sera from 12% of 1029 wild boar (Sus scrofa scrofa), in 5% of 38 red deer (Cervus elaphus) and in none of 8 studied roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). Differences in background signals were observed between species and accounted for by fitting finite mixture distributions. HEV RNA was detected in 8% of 106 wild boars, in 15% of 39 red deer and in none of 8 roe deer. In conclusion, HEV was shown to be present in European red deer for the first time. This preselection based on species-independent serological assays may be beneficial to identify new potential animal reservoirs of HEV. The consumption of Dutch undercooked wild boar and red deer meat may lead to human exposure to HEV.