Seroprevalence of hepatitis E virus in dromedary camels, Bedouins, Muslim Arabs and Jews in Israel, 2009–2017

R. Bassal*, M. Wax, R. Shirazi, T. Shohat, D. Cohen, D. David, S. Abu-Mouch, Y. Abu-Ghanem, E. Mendelson, Z. Ben-Ari, O. Mor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an emerging cause of viral hepatitis worldwide. Recently, HEV-7 has been shown to infect camels and humans. We studied HEV seroprevalence in dromedary camels and among Bedouins, Arabs (Muslims, none-Bedouins) and Jews and assessed factors associated with anti-HEV seropositivity. Serum samples from dromedary camels (n = 86) were used to determine camel anti-HEV IgG and HEV RNA positivity. Human samples collected between 2009 and 2016 from >20 years old Bedouins (n = 305), non-Bedouin Arabs (n = 320) and Jews (n = 195), were randomly selected using an age-stratified sampling design. Human HEV IgG levels were determined using Wantai IgG ELISA assay. Of the samples obtained from camels, 68.6% were anti-HEV positive. Among the human populations, Bedouins and non-Bedouin Arabs had a significantly higher prevalence of HEV antibodies (21.6% and 15.0%, respectively) compared with the Jewish population (3.1%). Seropositivity increased significantly with age in all human populations, reaching 47.6% and 34.8% among ≥40 years old, in Bedouins and non-Bedouin Arabs, respectively. The high seropositivity in camels and in ≥40 years old Bedouins and non-Bedouin Arabs suggests that HEV is endemic in Israel. The low HEV seroprevalence in Jews could be attributed to higher socio-economic status.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere92
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
StatePublished - 2019


  • Arabs (Muslims, non-Bedouins)
  • Bedouins
  • Dromedary camels
  • Hepatitis E
  • Jews
  • Seroprevalence
  • Zoonozis


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