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Serological and molecular investigation of swine hepatitis E virus in pigs raised in Southern Italy


Costanzo, N; Sarno, Eleonora; Peretti, V; Ciambrone, L; Casalinuovo, F; Santoro, A (2015). Serological and molecular investigation of swine hepatitis E virus in pigs raised in Southern Italy. Journal of Food Protection, 78(11):2099-2102.

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection is a common acute hepatitis transmitted by the fecal-oral route. In developed countries, the virus has a zoonotic potential, and domestic pigs and wild boars are considered main reservoirs. To assess the prevalence of HEV-positive animals in the Calabria region (southern Italy) on a serological and molecular level, a total of 216 autochthonous healthy pigs (Apulo-Calabrese breed) were sampled. Both sera and feces were collected. Pigs were grouped based on age: 117 pigs <6 months and 99 pigs >6 months. By using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay system, a total of 173 (80%) of the 216 pigs tested seropositive. In all sampled farms (n = 8), pigs with antibodies (immunoglobulin G) against HEV were detected at a level higher than 60%, with a significant difference among age groups (P < 0.0001). Moreover, 16 fattening pigs were found to be nested reverse transcription PCR positive and thus to shed viral genomes in their feces. These positive findings resulted in a prevalence of 48.4% on the farm level (16 of 35 pigs) and an overall prevalence of 7.4% at the animal level (16 of 216 pigs). Based on the present study, HEV seems to circulate among the autochthonous domestic pig population of southern Italy with a low sharing rate. Further studies exploring the origin of infection are needed to minimize the risk of human exposure and to reduce consequences for public health.

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection is a common acute hepatitis transmitted by the fecal-oral route. In developed countries, the virus has a zoonotic potential, and domestic pigs and wild boars are considered main reservoirs. To assess the prevalence of HEV-positive animals in the Calabria region (southern Italy) on a serological and molecular level, a total of 216 autochthonous healthy pigs (Apulo-Calabrese breed) were sampled. Both sera and feces were collected. Pigs were grouped based on age: 117 pigs <6 months and 99 pigs >6 months. By using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay system, a total of 173 (80%) of the 216 pigs tested seropositive. In all sampled farms (n = 8), pigs with antibodies (immunoglobulin G) against HEV were detected at a level higher than 60%, with a significant difference among age groups (P < 0.0001). Moreover, 16 fattening pigs were found to be nested reverse transcription PCR positive and thus to shed viral genomes in their feces. These positive findings resulted in a prevalence of 48.4% on the farm level (16 of 35 pigs) and an overall prevalence of 7.4% at the animal level (16 of 216 pigs). Based on the present study, HEV seems to circulate among the autochthonous domestic pig population of southern Italy with a low sharing rate. Further studies exploring the origin of infection are needed to minimize the risk of human exposure and to reduce consequences for public health.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Food Safety and Hygiene
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:18 Feb 2016 15:28
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 18:39
Publisher:International Association for Food Protection
ISSN:0362-028X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-15-159
PubMed ID:26555536

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