Prevalence of hepatitis E virus infection in pigs at the time of slaughter, United Kingdom, 2013

Sylvia Grierson, Judith Heaney, Tanya Cheney, Dilys Morgan, Stephen Wyllie, Laura Powell, Donald Smith, Samreen Ijaz, Falko Steinbach, Bhudipa Choudhury, Richard S. Tedder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since 2010, reports of infection with hepatitis E virus (HEV) have increased in England and Wales. Despite mounting evidence regarding the zoonotic potential of porcine HEV, there are limited data on its prevalence in pigs in the United Kingdom. We investigated antibody prevalence, active infection, and virus variation in serum and cecal content samples from 629 pigs at slaughter. Prevalence of antibodies to HEV was 92.8% (584/629), and HEV RNA was detected in 15% of cecal contents (93/629), 3% of plasma samples (22/629), and 2% of both (14/629). However, although HEV is prevalent in pigs in the United Kingdom and viremic pigs are entering the food chain, most (22/23) viral sequences clustered separately from the dominant type seen in humans. Thus, pigs raised in the United Kingdom are unlikely to be the main source of human HEV infections in the United Kingdom. Further research is needed to identify the source of these infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1396-1401
Number of pages6
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Volume21
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

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© 2015, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All rights reserved.

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