Navigation Links
Veterinary researchers discover first US strains of hepatitis E virus from rabbits

Researchers in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech have identified the first strains of hepatitis E virus from farmed rabbits in the United States. It is unknown whether the virus can spread from rabbits to humans.

Caitlin Cossaboom of Salisbury, Md., a second-year student in the combined Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Ph.D. program in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, is the first author of a publication entitled "Hepatitis E Virus in Rabbits, Virginia, USA" in the November issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Although researchers found hepatitis E virus in rabbits in China in 2009, this is the first time the virus has been identified in rabbits in the United States or anywhere outside of China," Cossaboom said.

Dr. X.J. Meng, professor of biomedical sciences and pathobiology in the veterinary college, Cossaboom's graduate advisor, and senior author of the study, identified the first animal strains of hepatitis E virus swine hepatitis E virus from pigs in 1997. Following the landmark study on swine hepatitis E virus by Meng and his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, researchers began to consider hepatitis E virus a zoonotic virus.

"Since 1997, researchers have found hepatitis E virus in pigs essentially in every swine-producing country and shown that the virus from pigs can infect humans," said Meng, who added that his lab also identified avian hepatitis E virus from chickens in the United States and that other researchers later discovered strains of the virus in other animal species, including rats, mongoose, deer, and wild boars.

Hepatitis E is an acute hepatic disease caused by infection with an RNA virus that has a fecal-oral transmission route. The disease is mainly prevalent in developing countries, though sporadic cases have been reported in industrialized countries such as the United States. The mortality rate associated with hepatitis E virus infection in humans is generally less than 1 percent, but it can reach up to 28 percent in infected pregnant women.

The virus has at least four distinct genotypes. Genotypes 1 and 2 infect only humans and typically occur in developing countries with poor sanitation conditions. Meanwhile, genotypes 3 and 4 are zoonotic, can spread from animals to humans, and are found in both industrialized and developing countries.

"It is worth noting that the strains of the virus found in rabbits in the U.S. and China closely relate to genotype 3, a genotype that has been shown to transfer from animals to humans," Meng said. "The question is, 'Do the strains of hepatitis E virus in rabbits infect humans?' We don't know, but the possibility is there and more research is needed to address this potential concern."

Cossaboom and her colleagues collected fecal and serum samples from 85 rabbits from two farms in Virginia one in Southwest Virginia and one in Eastern Virginia and found that approximately 50 percent of the rabbits were exposed to the hepatitis E virus. Researchers were able to genetically identify four isolates of the virus from the two rabbit farms.

"For future research, we are particularly interested in the potential zoonotic infection of humans and food safety concerns," Cossaboom said.

She added that pigs can serve as "animal reservoirs" for genotypes 3 and 4 hepatitis E virus. In other words, the pigs can carry and shed the virus, and occasionally the virus may transmit to humans. "However, it is unknown if the virus from rabbits can infect across species or serve as a reservoir," Cossaboom said.

There are five known types of viral hepatitis: Hepatitis A transmits from person to person from ingesting contaminated food and water. Hepatitis B and C spread by blood-to-blood contact; the hepatitis C virus can also cause chronic infection and, in some cases, liver cancer. Hepatitis D occurs in individuals who already have hepatitis B. Although all of these viruses, including hepatitis E virus, target the liver, none of them are genetically related.

Contact: Michael Sutphin
Virginia Tech

Related medicine news :

1. Summit VetPharm Enters Agreement With MWI Veterinary Supply to Distribute Vectra(R) Products
2. New Online Veterinary Video CPD Provides Accessible Learning for Veterinary Surgeons and Nurses
3. Scottsdale Veterinary Pharmacy Celebrates Success in Business By Dodging Veterinary Drug Shortages
4. Medical Gas Systems Available from DRE Veterinary
5. Researchers map all the fragile sites of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiaes genome
6. UH Case Medical Center researchers publish promising findings for advanced cervical cancer
7. Researchers discover new way to kill pediatric brain tumors
8. Researchers Who Discovered First Genes for Stuttering will Present Findings to the National Stuttering Association
9. Researchers create drug to keep tumor growth switched off
10. Urine protein test might help diagnose kidney damage from lupus, UT Southwestern researchers find
11. GUMC researchers say flower power may reduce resistance to breast cancer drug tamoxifen
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Veterinary researchers discover first US strains of hepatitis E virus from rabbits
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned his Bachelors in ... School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at Scripps Green Hospital ... at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity to train in ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, ... at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health ... annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... A ... procedures that most people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that ... but also many of these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. ... the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has ... , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to support ... as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... BOGOTA, Colombia , June 23, 2016  Astellas today announced the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a ... second affiliate in Latin America . ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  Guerbet announced today ... Inc.,s Supplier Horizon Award . One ... Guerbet was recognized for its support of Premier members ... through clinical excellence, and commitment to lower costs. ... receive this recognition of our outstanding customer service from ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Volumes: Global Analysis (United States, China, Japan, Brazil, United ... to their offering. ... healthcare business planners, provides surgical procedure volume data in ... with an in-depth analysis of growth drivers and inhibitors, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: