Hepatitis E virus antibody prevalence in wildlife in Poland.
Hepatitis E is an important public health problem mostly in developing but occasionally also in industrialized countries. Domestic and wildlife animals are considered reservoirs of the hepatitis E virus (HEV). Since no information on the prevalence of autochthonous HEV infections in human and animal in Poland is available, the aim of the study was to investigate the HEV seroprevalence of different wildlife species as potential virus reservoirs in the country. No HEV antibodies were found in any of the sera collected from the red deer (Cervus elaphus), European bison (Bison bonasus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), elk (Alces alces), fallow deer (Dama dama), sika deer (Cervus nippon), Tatra chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica) or brown bear (Ursus arctos). HEV-specific antibodies were detected in 44.4% (95% CI 38.3-50.7) serum samples originated only from wild boars. The percentage of seropositive wild boars differed significantly between the provinces and was positively correlated with the wild boar density and rurality of the area. This study showed that HEV circulates among wild boar population in Poland, and this species should be considered as an important reservoir of the virus.