Detection of Hepatitis B Virus-Like Nucleotide Sequences in Liver Samples from Murine Rodents and Asian House Shrews
He, W.-Q.; Chen, X.-J.; Wen, Y.-Q.; Li, Y.-Z.; He, H.; Chen, Q.
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
In recent years, hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been detected in some species of animals. In this study, we found HBV-like nucleotide sequences in murine rodents and Asian house shrews (Suncus murinus) collected in China. A total of 801 animals were trapped. We found that 0.48% (3/624) of the murine rodents and 1.69% (3/177) of Asian house shrews were positive for HBV-like DNA. Detection of HBV-like DNA in brown rats (Rattus norvegicus), rice-field rat (Rattus losea), and Asian house shrews indicated that these species of animals might be hosts for HBV. However, none of the HBV-like DNA-positive animals was additionally positive for anti-HBV antibodies or hepatitis B surface antigen. A 585 bp nucleic acid sequence, mapping to a hepadnavirus, was extracted from rice-field rat, and bores strong resemblance to human HBV genotype B sequences. Further research is required to investigate the hepadnaviruses within the murine rodent and Asian house shrew populations to uncover the origin and zoonotic potential of HBV.