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Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2013 Aug;10(8):698-704. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2012.1369. Epub 2013 Jun 21.

A cross-sectional study of hepatitis E virus infection in pigs in different-sized farms in northern Thailand.

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  • 1Bureau of Epidemiology, Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand.


Pigs are an important reservoir of hepatitis E virus (HEV) in many countries throughout the world. We evaluated the association between farm size and presence of serum antibodies against HEV, as well as other risk factors for infection in pigs raised in Nan Province, Thailand in a cross-sectional study. The sampling frame was a total-population census of all pig herds, stratified into three classes of the farm size according to criteria developed by the Nan provincial livestock health office. One-eighth of all pigs in each farm were sampled randomly. All pig-farm owners were interviewed to elicit information on general characteristics of their farms, biosecurity and hygienic procedures, and farm management. We obtained sera and fecal samples from 879 pigs to test for antibodies to HEV and HEV RNA. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for risk factors for HEV seroprevalence were estimated by multivariate logistic regression. The overall prevalence of anti-HEV immunoglobulin G antibodies was 9.9%. Pigs studied from medium-sized farms had a higher HEV seroprevalence than those from larger farms (adjusted OR 4.95, 95% CI: 1.79, 13.70). Factors associated with HEV seropositivity included feeding pigs with agro-industrial byproducts, having veterinarians on farms, and presence of other pig farms within 100 m. Twenty-five (2.9%) of 875 sampled pig stools were positive for HEV RNA. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all HEV isolates clustered to HEV genotype 3.

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