Evidence of hepatitis E virus infection in specific pathogen-free rabbits in Korea
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Rabbits are considered a new natural reservoir of hepatitis E virus (HEV). In this study, HEV infection was verified by the detection of partial genomic sequence of HEV and anti-HEV antibodies in specific pathogen-free (SPF) rabbits. HEV RNA was found in 6.4% serum and 13.5% fecal samples from 126 SPF rabbits. Anti-HEV antibodies were also detected in 4.0% of the SPF rabbits. HEV genetic sequences isolated from the rabbits were clustered into a rabbit HEV clade with other rabbit HEV isolates; they were found to be most closely related with a rabbit HEV sequence previously reported in Korea. Therefore, HEV infection should be diagnosed before conducting experiments involving SPF rabbits.
KeywordsHepatitis E virus Specific pathogen-free rabbit RNA Antibody
This study was funded by Konkuk University in 2016 (Grant Number 2016-A019-0160).
SHH performed most experiments and data analysis. BJP, HSA, YHK, HJG, and DHK supported SHH’s experiments and helped data analysis. JBL, SYP, CSS, and SWL helped with experimental design and discussion of results. ISC wrote the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
This article does not include the statement of “Informed consent” because any human participants were not involved in this study.