RESEARCH PAPER
First detection and molecular characterization of hepatitis E virus in water from wastewater treatment plants in Portugal
 
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1
Centro de Investigação em Engenharia dos Processos Químicos e dos Produtos da Floresta (CIEPQF), Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
2
Agrarian Superior School, Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Portugal
3
Laboratório de Virologia, Grupo das Biociências Clínicas e Aplicadas, Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
4
Laboratório de Microbiologia, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
João R Mesquita   

Agrarian Superior School, Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Quinta da Alagoa, Estrada de Nelas, 3500-606 Viseu, Portugal
 
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2018;25(2):364–367
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ABSTRACT
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) genotype 3 is widespread in industrialized countries and widely recognized as a serious public health issue. HEV genotype 3 is excreted in both human and animal stools, having the potential to be introduced in aquatic environments through wastewater discharge. For this reason, waterborne transmission of the HEV genotype 3 is drawing increasing attention from the scientific community. Although studies in Portugal have shown that HEV circulates in both humans and swine, no study has yet focused on the presence of HEV in wastewater. Hence, a total of 60 water samples (influent and effluent) from 15 Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP) of different regions of Portugal were tested for the presence of HEV using a broad spectrum real-time RT-PCR with amplification within the ORF2 region of HEV genome. Positive samples were retested by nested RT-PCR with amplification within the ORF1 region, sequenced followed by phylogenetic analysis. HEV sequences were retrieved from two influent samples collected in December 2013 from WWTPs of North and Central of Portugal and classified in subgenotype 3i and 3f. This is the first study showing the presence of HEV in aquatic environments of Portugal.

 
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