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High frequency of hepatitis E virus infection in swine from South Brazil and close similarity to human HEV isolates

Passos-Castilho, Ana Maria, Granato, Celso Francisco Hernandes
Brazilian journal of microbiology 2017 v.48 no.2 pp. 373-379
Hepatitis E virus, RNA, feces, genotype, hepatitis E, humans, liver, microbiology, phylogeny, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, rural areas, screening, swine, viral load, Brazil
Hepatitis E virus is responsible for acute and chronic liver infections worldwide. Swine hepatitis E virus has been isolated in Brazil, and a probable zoonotic transmission has been described, although data are still scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of hepatitis E virus infection in pigs from a small-scale farm in the rural area of ParanĂ¡ State, South Brazil. Fecal samples were collected from 170 pigs and screened for hepatitis E virus RNA using a duplex real-time RT-PCR targeting a highly conserved 70nt long sequence within overlapping parts of ORF2 and ORF3 as well as a 113nt sequence of ORF2. Positive samples with high viral loads were subjected to direct sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. hepatitis E virus RNA was detected in 34 (20.0%) of the 170 pigs following positive results in at least one set of screening real-time RT-PCR primers and probes. The swine hepatitis E virus strains clustered with the genotype hepatitis E virus-3b reference sequences in the phylogenetic analysis and showed close similarity to human hepatitis E virus isolates previously reported in Brazil.