Prevalence of antibody to hepatitis E virus among wild sika deer, Cervus nippon, in Japan
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We examined 976 sika deer serum samples, 159 liver tissue samples and 88 stool samples collected from 16 prefectures in Japan, and performed ELISA and RT-PCR assays to detect antibodies to HEV and HEV RNA, respectively. Although 25 (2.6%) of 976 samples were positive for anti-HEV IgG, the antibody titers were very low. The OD values ranged between 0.018 and 0.486, forming a single distribution rather than a bimodal distribution, suggesting that the antibody detected in this study was not induced by HEV infection, or that deer have low sensitivity to HEV. HEV RNA was not detected in these samples, also suggesting that deer may not play a role as an HEV reservoir.
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