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J Infect Dis. 2010 Sep 15;202(6):825-34. doi: 10.1086/655898.

Pig liver sausage as a source of hepatitis E virus transmission to humans.

Author information

1
Pôle des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Clinique et Biologique, Fédération de Bactériologie-Hygiène-Virologie, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire Timone, Marseille, France. philippe.colson@ap-hm.fr

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The source and route of autochthonous hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections are not clearly established in industrialized countries despite evidence that it is a zoonosis in pigs. We investigated the role of figatellu, a traditional pig liver sausage widely eaten in France and commonly consumed raw, as a source of HEV infection.

METHODS:

A case-control study was conducted of 3 patients who presented autochthonous hepatitis E and 15 members of their 3 different families. Anti-HEV immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M antibody testing was performed with commercial assays. HEV RNA was detected in serum samples of patients and in pig liver sausages by means of real-time polymerase chain reaction and sequenced by means of in-house sequencing assays. Genetic links between HEV sequences were analyzed.

RESULTS:

Acute or recent HEV infection, defined by detection of anti-HEV immunoglobulin M antibodies and/or HEV RNA, was observed in 7 of 13 individuals who ate raw figatellu and 0 of 5 individuals who did not eat raw figatellu (P=.041). Moreover, HEV RNA of genotype 3 was recovered from 7 of 12 figatelli purchased in supermarkets, and statistically significant genetic links were found between these sequences and those recovered from patients who ate raw figatellu.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings strongly support the hypothesis of HEV infection through ingestion of raw figatellu.

PMID:
20695796
DOI:
10.1086/655898
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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