Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 481–485 | Cite as

Short communication: detection and molecular characterization of hepatitis E virus in domestic animals of São Tomé and Príncipe

  • João Rodrigo MesquitaEmail author
  • Claudia Istrate
  • Nânci L. Santos-Ferreira
  • Ana S. Ferreira
  • Joana Abreu-Silva
  • José Veiga
  • Wim H. M. van der Poel
  • Maria S. J. Nascimento
Short Communications


As in most of the African continent, the status of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection in domestic animals in São Tomé and Príncipe, an archipelago off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa, is also completely unknown. In the present study, we investigated the presence of HEV among domestic animals in São Tomé and Príncipe. A total of 93 stool samples from different animal species (goat, cow, pig, chicken, duck, and monkey) were tested for HEV RNA using two real-time RT-PCR assays, followed by a nested RT-PCR assay for sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. A total of six samples (1 cow stool and 5 pig stools) were found to be positive for HEV RNA of which one pig stool was positive by broad spectrum nested RT-PCR. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the retrieved sequence clustered within HEV subgenotype 3f, similar to zoonotic strains of European countries and posing interesting questions on past introduction of European HEV into São Tomé and Príncipe archipelago. This is the first report describing the presence and molecular characterization of HEV in São Tomé and Príncipe.


Hepatitis E virus São Tomé e Príncipe Domestic animals Zoonoses 



We acknowledge the support of the Ministry of Health of São Tomé e Príncipe and the representatives of the non-governmental organization Instituto Marquês de Valle Flor, Dr. Edgar Neves, Dr. António Lima (in STP), and Dr. Ahmed Zaky (in Lisbon) for guaranteeing the local logistic as well as the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal, to contribute to the project consumables.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • João Rodrigo Mesquita
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Claudia Istrate
    • 3
  • Nânci L. Santos-Ferreira
    • 4
  • Ana S. Ferreira
    • 4
  • Joana Abreu-Silva
    • 4
  • José Veiga
    • 5
    • 6
  • Wim H. M. van der Poel
    • 7
  • Maria S. J. Nascimento
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Escola Superior Agrária de Viseu (ESAV), Centro de Estudos em Educação, Tecnologias e Saúde (CI&DETS)Instituto Politécnico de ViseuViseuPortugal
  2. 2.Epidemiology Research Unit (EPIUnit), Institute of Public HealthUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Global Health and Tropical Medicine (GHTM), Unidade de Microbiologia Médica, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical (IHMT)Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (UNL)LisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Laboratório de MicrobiologiaFaculdade de Farmácia da Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  5. 5.Instituto Marquês de Valle FlorSão ToméSão Tomé and Príncipe
  6. 6.Ministério da SaúdeSão ToméSão Tomé and Príncipe
  7. 7.Wageningen Bioveterinary ResearchLelystadThe Netherlands

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