The discovery of autochthonous hepatitis E in industrialized countries has changed the understanding of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection in these regions, now known to be mainly due to zoonotic transmission of genotype 3. The foodborne route of transmission via consumption of contaminated meat from HEV infected pigs is well documented as well as the direct occupational exposure to animal reservoirs. Accumulating evidence also points to an emerging potential threat to blood safety after the identification of viremic blood donors and the documentation of HEV-contaminated blood or blood products. Moreover, the origin of several iatrogenic cases remains unclear and porcine-derived pharmaceutic products have been suspected as a cause. Severe morbidity following HEV infection in patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy and in those with severe immunodeficiency from other causes has been recently recognized as a serious consequence of this infection in industrialized countries. In Portugal no large-scale HEV seroprevalence study has been undertaken, no professional risk groups have been identified, and the risk of blood donation from HEV silent infected donors is unknown. The project HEPeCONTROL: HEPATITIS E VIRUS EPIDEMIOLOGY, SAFETY AND CONTROL funded by the Public Health Initiatives Program of the European Economic Area Grants (EEA Grants; project number 60DT2) aims to fill in these knowledge gaps and will allow the characterization of the seroepidemiological pattern of HEV infection in Portugal contributing to the implementation of control Public Health measures concerning this virus.
The seminar is free, and all are welcome (including members of the public) without needing to book a place.
Maria de São José Alexandre is a Full Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto (FFUP). She is currently the Director of the Master in Clinical Analysis of FFUP and Head of the Laboratory of Microbiology (Biological Sciences Department). She is a member of the Microbiology Laboratory of FFUP since 1982, teaching Virology in different courses since 1984.
Has taught in several postgraduate courses by invitation in universities and other professional institutions and presented lectures at foreign universities, international and national scientific meetings.
Has been the supervisor/co-supervisor of 10 PhD and 14 master students.
Has been involved as a PI or as member of the team of several National and International research projects (European projects) and has published 100 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, as well as authored and co-authored book chapters in the area of Microbiology and Virology (Nascimento MSJ is the name that uses in publications).
Has developed research in the field of Pharmaceutical Sciences, particularly in the search for compounds with immunomodulatory, anticancer and antiviral activity but presently conducts research in the area of Clinical Virology, Environmental and Food Virology. The molecular epidemiology of animal viruses and their zoonotic potential is now one of the priority areas of his research.
João Rodrigo Mesquita is an invited Adjunct Professor based at the Agrarian Superior School of Viseu since 2006. Since then he has taught several classes related with animal infectious diseases in both bachelor and master programs. His research interests are focused on zoonotic diseases with a special interest in Veterinary and Human Virology on the One Health perspective. He has published over 35 papers in international peer-reviewed journals and has been a member of research projects in Virology.