Med. Weter. 75

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Classification, structure and molecular diagnostics of avian hepatitis E virus
Pathological syndromes caused by avian hepatitis E virus have been described as big liver and spleen disease; necrotic haemorrhagic hepatitis-splenomegaly syndrome; necrotic, haemorrhagic, hepatomegalic hepatitis; or hepatitis-liver haemorrhage syndrome. The aetiological factor of this syndrome belongs to the Hepeviridae family. Avian hepatitis E virus is a single-strand RNA virus whose genome consists of approx. 7,200 base pairs and contains a short non-coding 5’ terminus (27-35 nucleotides) followed by three partially overlapping open reading frames: ORF1, ORF3 and ORF2. Since the avian strains of hepatitis viruses do not replicate in cell cultures, molecular biology techniques are used in the diagnosis of infections. This article discusses in detail the structure and function of each ORF of avian hepatitis E virus, as well as methods for the identification of the genetic material of this pathogen.
Keywords: avian hepatitis E virus taxonomy, structure, molecular diagnostics