Hepatitis E virus (HEV) belongs to the family of Hepeviridae and is one of the most frequent causes of acute virus hepatitis in humans worldwide. Epidemic HEV infections often occur in developing countries. But the number of sporadic cases in industrialised nations is also increasing. Generally, HEV infection in humans is self-limiting. However, in developing countries pregnant women and infants show an increased mortality rate. HEV infection in immunosuppressed persons can become a chronic disease. Infection usually takes place through the consumption of contaminated food or water as well as raw or insufficiently cooked meat and milk from infected animals. Transmission via direct contact with infected animals can not be excluded. There are different genotypes of the virus, some of which have zoonotic potential and can infect other mammals besides humans, e.g. pigs. The mostly subclinically infected reservoir animals represent an infection risk for humans. A novel hepatitis E virus was isolated in camels. This so-called camel-associated HEV, classified as genotype 7, has already been detected in humans. For this reason, camels are currently also being discussed as a reservoir of HEV. Especially camel calves are frequently infected with HEV-G7 and are therefore a potential infection source for humans, until they have produced neutralising antibodies.
Clinical symptoms rarely occur in HEV-infected camels. For confirmation of suspected cases of HEV infection in camels, direct detection of HEV by means of PCR and the detection of antibodies against HEV using indirect immunofluorescence (IIFT), ELISA or neutralisation test are the most reliable laboratory diagnostic methods. The use of a specific recombinant structural protein of camel-associated HEV-G7 as the ELISA antigen enables sensitive detection of HEV-specific antibodies in camels. Positive results should be confirmed by a further method, ideally a neutralisation test.
|Method||Substrate||Diagnostic application||Order number|
|ELISA||Recombinant structural protein of hepatitis E virus (HEV) genotype 7||IgG ELISA; first commercially available ELISA for the detection of HEV in camels; high sensitivity and specificity; suited for epidemiological studies and monitoring programs||EI 2525-9601 GK|