Avian Hepatitis E Virus in Chickens, Taiwan, 2013 - Volume 20, Number 1—January 2014 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC
Volume 20, Number 1—January 2014
Avian Hepatitis E Virus in Chickens, Taiwan, 2013
Author affiliations: National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan (I.W.-Y. Hsu, H.-J. Tsai); and Council of Agriculture, New Taipei City, Taiwan (H.-J. Tsai)
Avian hepatitis E virus (aHEV) was first isolated from chickens with big liver and spleen disease or hepatitis-splenomegaly syndrome (1,2). aHEV infection in chickens can cause death and reduce egg production, resulting in economic losses in the poultry industry (3). The zoonotic characteristic of aHEV have not been verified with certainty (4); however, the virus may have public health implications related to the consumption of contaminated poultry eggs and meat, the use of poultry viscera as a culinary delicacy, and the handling of poultry.
In Taiwan, the prevalence of aHEV in avian livestock has been increasing, but the causative strain has not been known. To increase our knowledge of this growing problem, we determined the seroprevalence of aHEV antibody in chickens in Taiwan and then isolated the infecting virus and sequenced and phylogenetically analyzed its full genome to better determine the origin and evolutionary status of the virus.