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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2006 Sep;18(5):462-5.

Detection of hepatitis E virus shedding in feces of pigs at different stages of production using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.

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  • 1Departamento de Atención Sanitaria, Salud Pública y Sanidad Animal, Universidad Cardenal Herrera-CEU, Moncada (Valencia), Spain.


The aim of this study was to determine at which production stages hepatitis E virus (HEV) is shed by the highest number of pigs and to estimate the relative risk associated with each stage. For this purpose, 146 fecal samples of pigs from 21 farms were studied. In addition, 1 sample from the manure ditch and another sample of drinking water, collected directly from the trough located in the pen, were taken from 16 farms. HEV RNA was detected in fecal samples from 34 pigs (23.29%). The production stages in which most pigs excreted HEV were weaners (41.7%) and pigs in the first month of feeding (60%). The results of the statistical analysis showed that the principal significant risk stage in HEV shedding was the first month of feeding (odds ratio [OR] 19.5, 95% CI 3.59-106.07, P = 0.001) followed by the weaners stage (OR 9.3, 95% CI .78-48.42, P = 0.008). In 8 out of 16 farms tested (50%) HEV RNA was detected in raw manure and in the water trough of only 1. Detection of HEV in manure ditches raises the concern of how to deal with manure of swine origin, because it is used as soil fertilizer.

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