UMR 1161 Virologie, Anses, Laboratoire de santé animale,
14, rue Pierre et Marie-Curie,
94701 Maisons-Alfort cedex,
The concept of zoonotic viral hepatitis E has emerged a few years ago in countries where sporadic cases of hepatitis E were not associated with travel in geographical areas where the virus is endemic (tropical or subtropical regions) . Improved diagnostic methods and the awareness of clinicians helped to better assess the impact of infection by hepatitis E virus (HEV) and identify new related syndromes. Similarly, the description of chronic forms of hepatitis E in immunocompromised patients raises the question of the treatment and prevention of this disease. Recent advances in the identification of animal reservoirs of HEV have confirmed that the strains circulating in domestic and wild pigs are genetically close to strains identified in indigenous cases. Characterization of HEV infection in swine herds has identified risk factors associated to the virus spreading. In addition, the identification of HEV in the food chain or products containing pork has shown that it is a food-borne zoonosis. The arrival of recent technologies to identify new agents helped expand the family of HEV related viruses and identify potential new animal reservoirs.