Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections constitute a significant health problem worldwide. The burden of hepatitis E in Italy seems low when compared with other European countries. In recent years, improved surveillance activities in Italy have revealed marked geographical differences in HEV epidemiology, with some regions characterised by higher seroprevalence rates. Abruzzo Region (Southern Italy) is currently recognised as a high-risk area for HEV infection. In this study, we investigated the epidemiology of HEV in Teramo Province by monitoring four wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Out of 56 influent sewage specimens collected during 2016-2017, HEV RNA was detected in 13/56 (23.2%) sewage samples from all the four WWTPs. Upon sequence analysis of the partial ORF2 gene, four strains showed the highest nucleotide identity to Gt3 subtype c, being more closely related to other HEVs previously identified in human and animal hosts in Abruzzo. For one strain, sequence data were generated only for a short region of the ORF1 gene, revealing the highest identity to HEVs Gt3 of subtype f. Altogether, the findings of this study confirm that HEV largely circulates in the setting investigated.

High prevalence of hepatitis E virus in raw sewage in Southern Italy

Martella, Vito
Writing – Review & Editing
;
2019

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections constitute a significant health problem worldwide. The burden of hepatitis E in Italy seems low when compared with other European countries. In recent years, improved surveillance activities in Italy have revealed marked geographical differences in HEV epidemiology, with some regions characterised by higher seroprevalence rates. Abruzzo Region (Southern Italy) is currently recognised as a high-risk area for HEV infection. In this study, we investigated the epidemiology of HEV in Teramo Province by monitoring four wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Out of 56 influent sewage specimens collected during 2016-2017, HEV RNA was detected in 13/56 (23.2%) sewage samples from all the four WWTPs. Upon sequence analysis of the partial ORF2 gene, four strains showed the highest nucleotide identity to Gt3 subtype c, being more closely related to other HEVs previously identified in human and animal hosts in Abruzzo. For one strain, sequence data were generated only for a short region of the ORF1 gene, revealing the highest identity to HEVs Gt3 of subtype f. Altogether, the findings of this study confirm that HEV largely circulates in the setting investigated.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/247938
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