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Vet Rec. 2004 Feb 21;154(8):223-7.

Evidence for the presence of hepatitis E virus in pigs in the United Kingdom.

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Veterinary Laboratories Agency, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB.


Samples of serum, tissue and faeces from two pig herds in England were examined for hepatitis E virus by reverse-transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR), and a virus strain from each herd was partially sequenced. Eleven of 42 faecal samples and 16 of 21 tissue samples from two pigs were positive for the virus by RT-PCR. Analysis of two unique but closely related nucleotide sequences obtained from the two herds showed that the viruses clustered in genotype III (6) with a human strain of the virus from an autochthonously acquired case of acute hepatitis in the UK. An ELISA based on recombinant open reading frame 2 (ORF-2) was used to detect antibodies to hepatitis E virus in 256 pig sera from the UK; 85.5 per cent of the samples were positive, compared with 58 per cent of similar samples from Swedish pigs and 23.5 per cent of samples from Dutch pigs.

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