Phylogenetic analysis of 626 hepatitis E virus (HEV) isolates from humans and animals in China (1986-2011) showing genotype diversity and zoonotic transmission.Infect Genet Evol. 2012 Mar; 12(2):428-34.IG
Hepatitis E is considered as a public health problem in China. To determine the overall molecular epidemiology of hepatitis E virus (HEV) and analyze the situation of cross-species transmission between humans and swine in China over the last 25 years (1986-2011), 626 HEV complete and partial sequences (89 isolates identified by our group) isolated from humans and animals in China were retrieved from GenBank and subjected to phylogenetic analysis. There were three genotypes and 11 sub-genotypes of HEV prevailing in China. Furthermore, rabbit HEVs, of which the genotype is controversial, are also widespread in China. Genotype 1 was the most isolated genotype prior to 2000 and mainly detected in Xinjiang, Beijing and East China. However, genotype 4, which was identified in most regions of China during the last 10 years, has overtaken genotype 1 in frequency of isolation nationwide. Genotype 3 HEV strains have been found only in eastern China and were thought to be imported from Japan. Both genotypes 3 and 4 were found in humans and swine and cross-species transmission from pigs to humans of the two genotypes may have occurred in Northeast, Northwest, North, East and South China. These results indicate that HEV strains with considerable genetic diversity are widespread and the zoonotic transmission between swine and humans appears ubiquitous in China.