Author(s): Mirazo S, Ramos N, Russi JC, Arbiza J
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Abstract Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection is an important public health concern in many developing countries causing waterborne outbreaks, as well as sporadic autochthonous hepatitis. It is transmitted primarily by the fecal-oral route. However, zoonotic transmission from animal reservoirs to human has also been suggested. Genotype 3 is the most frequent genotype found in South America and the HEV epidemiology in this region seems to be very complex. However, data about the molecular characterization of HEV isolates of the region is still lacking and further investigation is needed. Our study characterized human HEV strains detected in a 1-year period in Uruguay, by extensive sequence analysis of three regions of the HEV genome. Uruguayan strains were closely related to a set of European strains and in turn, were dissimilar to Brazilian, Argentinean and Bolivian isolates. Additionally, the co-circulation of viral subtypes 3i and 3h was observed. Circulation of subtype 3i had been reported in Argentina and Bolivia whereas sequences of subtype 3h are rare and had never been reported in Latin America. In order to contribute to shedding light over the molecular epidemiology of this emergent infection in the region, we thoroughly analyzed the genetic variability of HEV strains detected in Uruguay, providing the largest dataset of sequences of HEV ever reported in a country in South America. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Virus Res
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals