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Hepatitis E Virus in Pork and Variety Meats Sold in Fresh Markets

Intharasongkroh, Duangnapa, Sa-nguanmoo, Pattaratida, Tuanthap, Supansa, Thongmee, Thanunrat, Duang-in, Ausanee, Klinfueng, Sirapa, Chansaenroj, Jira, Vongpunsawad, Sompong, Theamboonlers, Apiradee, Payungporn, Sunchai, Chirathaworn, Chintana, Poovorawan, Yong
Food and environmental virology 2017 v.9 no.1 pp. 45-53
fresh market, Orthohepevirus A, pork, risk, slaughterhouses, liver, food contamination, microbial contamination, organ meats, phylogeny, feces, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, transcription (genetics), bile, genotype, intestines, RNA, markets, swine, Thailand
Swine is an economically important livestock, yet pork consumption and close contact with pigs are associated with the risk of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection. Limited data on the prevalence of HEV in Southeast Asia have mainly examined farm animals. To investigate the potential zoonotic transmission of HEV from dietary consumption of pork and variety meats (i.e., offal or organ meats), we obtained 1090 liver, 559 pork meat, and 556 intestine samples from fresh markets in the Bangkok metropolitan area between November 2014 and February 2015. The presence of HEV was assessed using reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Concurrently, 720 bile and 553 fecal samples from a slaughterhouse were also examined. Overall, HEV RNA was found in 0.23 % of the market samples and 3.93 % of the slaughterhouse samples. Fecal and bile samples were more likely to test positive compared to liver, pork, and intestine samples (p < 0.001). Phylogenetic analysis showed that all HEV sequences obtained in this study formed a cluster closely related to genotype 3f. Pork and variety meats derived from pigs are commonly sold in fresh markets throughout Southeast Asia. Here, a relatively low HEV prevalence from pork and variety meats sold in Bangkok was found. Additional studies will be required to further assess potential dietary transmission of HEV elsewhere in the region.