Infection by Hepatitis E virus (HEV), as a zoonotic disease virus, is well studied in pigs in China, but few studies in pets have been performed. This study was designed to characterize the prevalence of HEV infection among pet dogs and cats in major metropolitan areas of China. We conducted a seroepidemiological survey from 2012 to 2013 in 5 developed cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Canton, Shenzhen and Macao, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The overall HEV seroprevalence in 658 dog and 191 cat serum samples was 21.12% and 6.28%, respectively. The analysis in dogs suggested that there were significant differences among cities, and the positive rate of HEV-specific antibody in all cities ranged from 6.06% (Shenzhen) to 29.34% (Beijing). Older pet cats have a high risk (OR, 10.25) for HEV seropositivity, but no strong relationship was observed between different genders and age groups. Additionally, it was revealed that stray dogs, omnivorous pet dogs and pet cats who share food, such as kitchen residue, with the general population would have a higher risk for HEV seropositivity. The odds ratios for these groups are 2.40, 2.83 and 5.39, respectively, compared with pet dogs and cats fed on commercial food. In this study, we first report that HEV is prevalent in pet dogs and cats in several large cities in China. Swill and kitchen residue may be a potential risk for HEV transmission from human to pets. As the sample size was relatively small in this study and may not be fully representative of China, further investigation is required to confirm the conclusions.
|Publication Title||PLoS One|
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