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Surveillance of Hepatitis E Virus Contamination in Shellfish in China

by Shenyang Gao 1,2,†, Dandan Li 3,†, Enhui Zha 4, Tiezhong Zhou 1, Shen Wang 1 and Xiqing Yue 1,2,*
1
Department of Food Science, Shenyang Agricultral University, Shenyang 110161, China
2
Department of Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Medicine, Liaoning Medical University, No. 5-48 Renmin Street, Jinzhou 121001, China
3
Animal Quarantine Lab, Inspection & Quarantine Technology Center of Hainan Entry-Exit Inspection & Quarantine Bureau, Haikou 570000, China
4
Department of Food Science, Liaoning Medical University, No. 5-48 Renmin Street, Jinzhou 121001, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Samuel Dorevitch
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2026-2036; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202026
Received: 27 October 2014 / Revised: 14 January 2015 / Accepted: 28 January 2015 / Published: 11 February 2015
Background: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) has been confirmed to be a zoonotic virus of worldwide distribution. HEV contamination in the water environment has not been well examined in China. The objective of this study was to evaluate HEV contamination in shellfish in a coastal area of China. Such contamination would be significant for evaluating public health risks. Methods: samples of three species shellfish were collected from thirteen points of estuarine tidal flats around the Bohai Gulf and screened for HEV RNA using an in-house nested RT-PCR assay. The detected HEV-positive samples were further verified by gene cloning and sequencing analysis. Results: the overall HEV-positive detection rate is approximately 17.5% per kilogram of shellfish. HEV was more common among S. subcrenata (28.2%), followed by A. granosa (14.3%) and R. philippinarum (11.5%). The phylogenetic analysis of the 13 HEV strains detected revealed that gene fragments fell into two known 4 sub-genotypes (4b/4d) groups and another unknown group. Conclusions: 13 different sub-genotype 4 HEVs were found in contaminated shellfish in the Bohai Gulf rim. The findings suggest that a health risk may exist for users of waters in the Bonhai area and to consumers of shellfish. Further research is needed to assess the sources and infectivity of HEV in these settings, and to evaluate additional shellfish harvesting areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: hepatitis E virus; shellfish; sub-genotype 4; Bohai Gulf; RT-PCR hepatitis E virus; shellfish; sub-genotype 4; Bohai Gulf; RT-PCR
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Gao, S.; Li, D.; Zha, E.; Zhou, T.; Wang, S.; Yue, X. Surveillance of Hepatitis E Virus Contamination in Shellfish in China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 2026-2036.

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