Hepatitis E virus in swine and effluent samples from slaughterhouses in Brazil

With the aim to evaluate the incidence of animals with current infection of HEV, 115 bile samples were collected from three slaughterhouses under inspection by Animal Sanitary Protection Agency of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In parallel, effluent samples were collected from six sewage pipe exit sites of two slaughterhouses.
Friday 25 February 2011 (7 years 7 months 25 days ago)
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Hepatitis E is an infectious disease which virus (HEV) is highly disseminated in swine herd populations. Sporadic acute human hepatitis E cases have been associated to genotype 3 and 4 strains of HEV also reported in swine populations of endemic and non-endemic areas. With the aim to evaluate the incidence of animals with current infection of HEV, 115 bile samples were collected from three slaughterhouses under inspection by Animal Sanitary Protection Agency of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In parallel, effluent samples were collected from six sewage pipe exit sites of two slaughterhouses.

HEV RNA was detected in 11 out of 115 (9.6%) bile samples collected and three waste samples from one slaughterhouse. Viral loads observed for bile samples varied from 10(1)-10(5) genome copies/mL and for effluent samples mean load was 10(2) genome copies/mL. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis classified samples within genotype 3 subtype 3b closely related to the sample obtained from the first reported autochthonous human case and samples from swine of commercial herds in Brazil.

Our data demonstrates that although most animals achieve slaughter age (around 20 weeks old) already immune to HEV, a significant number of animals are with current infection at commercial age.

Further studies should be addressed to consider risk analysis and possible evaluation of inspection regulations considering food safety measures regarding hepatitis E zoonotic aspect in Brazil.

Dos Santos DR, de Paula VS, de Oliveira JM, Marchevsky RS, Pinto MA. Hepatitis E virus in swine and effluent samples from slaughterhouses in Brazil. Vet Microbiol. 2010 Nov 4. [Epub ahead of print]

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