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HEV infection in swine from Eastern Brazilian Amazon: Evidence of co-infection by different subtypes

de Souza, Alex Junior Souza, Gomes-Gouvêa, Michele Soares, Soares, Manoel do Carmo Pereira, Pinho, João Renato Rebello, Malheiros, Andreza Pinheiro, Carneiro, Liliane Almeida, dos Santos, Debora Regina Lopes, Pereira, Washington Luiz Assunção
Comparative immunology, microbiology, and infectious diseases 2012 v.35 no.5 pp. 477-485
Orthohepevirus A, human diseases, immunoglobulin G, immunoglobulin M, hepatitis, blood serum, humans, liver, phylogeny, viruses, genotype, RNA, mixed infection, adults, swine, Amazonia, Brazil
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a fecal-orally transmitted member of the genus Hepevirus that causes acute hepatitis in humans and is widely distributed throughout the world. Pigs have been reported as the main source of genotypes 3 and 4 infection to humans in non-endemic areas. To investigate HEV infection in pigs from different regions of Pará state (Eastern Brazilian Amazon), we performed serological and molecular analyses of serum, fecal and liver samples from 151 adult pigs slaughtered between April and October 2010 in slaughterhouses in the metropolitan region of Belém, Pará. Among the animals tested, 8.6% (13/151) were positive for anti-HEV IgG but not for anti-HEV IgM. HEV RNA was detected in 4.8% (22/453) of the samples analyzed and 9.9% (15/151) of the animals had at least one positive sample. Phylogenetic analysis showed that all sequences belonged to genotype 3 that were related to human isolates from other non-endemic regions, suggesting that the isolates had zoonotic potential. Subtypes 3c and 3f were simultaneously detected in some pigs, suggesting co-infection by more than one strain and/or the presence of a recombinant virus. These results constitute the first molecular and serologic evidence of swine HEV circulation in the Eastern Brazilian Amazon.