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Estimated exposure to hepatitis E virus through consumption of swine liver and liver sausages


Sarno, Eleonora; Martin, A; McFarland, S; Johne, R; Stephan, Roger; Greiner, M (2017). Estimated exposure to hepatitis E virus through consumption of swine liver and liver sausages. Food Control, 73(Part B):821-828.

Abstract

A quantitative risk assessment was undertaken following the Codex Alimentarius principles in order to predict the exposure of consumers to hepatitis E virus (HEV) through food consumption. Taking into account the tropism of HEV, fresh liver and liver sausages were regarded as having a higher risk of contamination. The model entailed a hypothetical food pathway and was based on worst case scenario where the intake of contaminated food derived from a 100% HEV-infected pig population was estimated. As no data on the prevalence of infectious HEV was available, the HEV-RNA prevalence in food matrices and the seroprevalence of HEV-specific antibodies in swine were assessed and adjusted for diagnostic misclassification and sampling uncertainty. Considering a HEV prevalence of 100% in pigs and excluding further cross-contamination events, a food portion consisting of 130 gr of liver or of 32.5 gr of sausage (containing 30% of liver) yielded an estimated exposure of 8047 and 210 RNA copies (median values), respectively. These findings take into account the effect of thermal treatment on the HEV-RNA concentration of food. Due to the lack of information concerning the correlation between HEV-RNA concentration and the amount of infectious virus as well as the dose-response relationship of HEV, the calculated RNA copies do not allow direct conclusions to be drawn on the risk of infection following ingestion of these food types. The true prevalence was estimated for Switzerland and Germany, leading to an overall prevalence of HEV-RNA in food of 6.2% (90% Highest Density Intervals (HDIs): 2.5%–11.2%). In comparison with fresh liver, liver sausages showed a higher prevalence, most likely due to the presence of more than one liver within the same sausage. The true prevalence of anti-HEV IgG ranged between 59.4% (HDIs 56.5%–62.4%) and 62.6% (HDIs 58.8%–64.3%) and between 7.6% (HDIs 3.3%–13.2%) and 30.5% (HDIs 23.2%–38.2%) in pigs and wild boars, respectively. The high prevalence of antibodies support the evidence that these animals can act as reservoirs for HEV and can contribute epidemiologically to the maintenance of the virus in the surroundings. This study is a preliminary investigation and highlights the major existing gaps needed to be filled in order to enable a refined HEV risk assessment that can drive future decisions for the implementation of food safety and of control measures.

Abstract

A quantitative risk assessment was undertaken following the Codex Alimentarius principles in order to predict the exposure of consumers to hepatitis E virus (HEV) through food consumption. Taking into account the tropism of HEV, fresh liver and liver sausages were regarded as having a higher risk of contamination. The model entailed a hypothetical food pathway and was based on worst case scenario where the intake of contaminated food derived from a 100% HEV-infected pig population was estimated. As no data on the prevalence of infectious HEV was available, the HEV-RNA prevalence in food matrices and the seroprevalence of HEV-specific antibodies in swine were assessed and adjusted for diagnostic misclassification and sampling uncertainty. Considering a HEV prevalence of 100% in pigs and excluding further cross-contamination events, a food portion consisting of 130 gr of liver or of 32.5 gr of sausage (containing 30% of liver) yielded an estimated exposure of 8047 and 210 RNA copies (median values), respectively. These findings take into account the effect of thermal treatment on the HEV-RNA concentration of food. Due to the lack of information concerning the correlation between HEV-RNA concentration and the amount of infectious virus as well as the dose-response relationship of HEV, the calculated RNA copies do not allow direct conclusions to be drawn on the risk of infection following ingestion of these food types. The true prevalence was estimated for Switzerland and Germany, leading to an overall prevalence of HEV-RNA in food of 6.2% (90% Highest Density Intervals (HDIs): 2.5%–11.2%). In comparison with fresh liver, liver sausages showed a higher prevalence, most likely due to the presence of more than one liver within the same sausage. The true prevalence of anti-HEV IgG ranged between 59.4% (HDIs 56.5%–62.4%) and 62.6% (HDIs 58.8%–64.3%) and between 7.6% (HDIs 3.3%–13.2%) and 30.5% (HDIs 23.2%–38.2%) in pigs and wild boars, respectively. The high prevalence of antibodies support the evidence that these animals can act as reservoirs for HEV and can contribute epidemiologically to the maintenance of the virus in the surroundings. This study is a preliminary investigation and highlights the major existing gaps needed to be filled in order to enable a refined HEV risk assessment that can drive future decisions for the implementation of food safety and of control measures.

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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
Uncontrolled Keywords:Hepatitis E virus, Exposure assessment, Liver, Liver sausages, Foodborne transmission
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:14 Feb 2018 20:37
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 11:16
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0956-7135
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2016.09.030

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