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Acta Trop. 2011 Oct-Nov;120(1-2):146-50. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2011.07.008. Epub 2011 Jul 22.

Evidence of Japanese encephalitis virus infections in swine populations in 8 provinces of Cambodia: implications for national Japanese encephalitis vaccination policy.

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Virology Unit, Institut Pasteur in Cambodia, # 5, Monivong boulevard, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


Although Cambodia, a Southeast Asian country, is suspected to be highly endemic for Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), there are no nationally representative data on JEV transmission. Most of the existing data on human disease comes from few sentinel hospitals, and there have been no previous studies or surveillance for JEV transmission among pigs--the amplifying hosts in the natural cycle of JEV transmission. In preparation to develop a nationwide vaccination policy, data are required to show transmission of JEV in all the geographical regions of Cambodia. Analysis of JEV transmission among pigs will provide additional data on geographical scope and intensity of JEV transmission in Cambodia and will help to inform human vaccination policies in Cambodia. In this study, 505 sera obtained from swine bred in familial settings from 8 different provinces in Cambodia were tested by hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and ELISA tests to assess the presence of an immunological response to a JEV infection. Three hundred and thirty two sera (65.7%) were tested positives by HI assay and 321 (63.5%) by ELISA. Our results indicate that pigs particularly older than 6 months (95.2%) were highly infected with JEV in the 8 provinces. The high prevalence of HI antibodies and the high HI titer (>160 in 65.2% of cases and ≥ 1280 in 24.6% of cases) found in this age group suggest the important role of pigs in the transmission cycle of JEV in nature as they become probably rapidly infected and repeatedly re-exposed to the virus. Since the current pig rearing practices (within the backyard of home) are the same all over Cambodia, the results suggest that the human disease is also likely to be highly prevalent in the other provinces and warrant comprehensive policies for human vaccination and strengthened surveillance for acute meningo-encephalitis.

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