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Article

Increasing Hepatitis E Virus Seroprevalence in Domestic Pigs and Wild Boar in Bulgaria

1
Department of Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology, University of Plovdiv, 4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
2
Department of Animal Genetics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
3
Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnologies, 4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
4
Center of Plant Systems Biology and Biotechnology, 4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1521; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091521
Received: 27 July 2020 / Revised: 24 August 2020 / Accepted: 25 August 2020 / Published: 28 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoonoses: Wild and Domestic Animal Interaction)
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a lesser-known hepatitis virus, but its worldwide spread is undisputed and has increased in recent years. The zoonotic spread of HEV, mainly due to genotype (gt) 3, emerged in developed countries in the past decade. In addition, transmission via contaminated meat from pigs and boars was also established. Detailed analysis of viral dynamics and distribution is needed in order to identify associated risk factors. The aim of the current study is to present new and additional data on the HEV distribution among pigs, and for the first-time, also among the wild boar population in Bulgaria.
(1) Background: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a causative agent of acute viral hepatitis, predominantly transmitted by the fecal–oral route. In developed countries, HEV is considered to be an emerging pathogen since the number of autochthonous cases is rising. Hepatitis E is a viral disease with a proven zoonotic potential for some of its genotypes. The main viral reservoirs are domestic pigs and wild boar. Consumption of undercooked meat, as well as occupational exposure, are key factors for the spread of HEV. In order to evaluate the risks of future viral evolution, a detailed examination of the ecology and distribution of the virus is needed. The aim of the present study is to investigate the prevalence of anti-HEV IgG Ab in domestic pigs and wild boar in Bulgaria; (2) Methods: In this study, during the period of three years between 2017 and 2019, 433 serum samples from 19 different pig farms and 1 slaughterhouse were collected and analyzed. In addition, 32 samples from wild boar were also collected and analyzed during the 2018–2019 hunting season. All samples were analyzed by commercial indirect ELISA; (3) Results: Overall, HEV seroprevalence was 60% (95% CI 42.7–77.1) in domestic pigs and 12.5% (4/32) in wild boar. The observed seroprevalence of the slaughter-aged pigs was 73.65% (95% Cl 58.7–87.3). Prevalence in domestic pigs was significantly higher in the samples collected during 2019 (98% (95% Cl 96.1–99.9)) compared to those collected during 2017 (45.33% (95% CI 2.7–87.3)) and 2018 (38.46% (95% CI 29.1–49.7.); (4) Conclusions: Our findings suggest that domesticated pigs and wild boar might be the reason for the increased HEV transmission across Bulgaria. The genotypic characterization of HEV found in pigs, wild boar and humans will give a more accurate view of the zoonotic transmission of this virus. View Full-Text
Keywords: hepatitis E virus; zoonotic transmission; foodborne infection; prevalence; boar; pigs hepatitis E virus; zoonotic transmission; foodborne infection; prevalence; boar; pigs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Takova, K.; Koynarski, T.; Minkov, I.; Ivanova, Z.; Toneva, V.; Zahmanova, G. Increasing Hepatitis E Virus Seroprevalence in Domestic Pigs and Wild Boar in Bulgaria. Animals 2020, 10, 1521. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091521

AMA Style

Takova K, Koynarski T, Minkov I, Ivanova Z, Toneva V, Zahmanova G. Increasing Hepatitis E Virus Seroprevalence in Domestic Pigs and Wild Boar in Bulgaria. Animals. 2020; 10(9):1521. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091521

Chicago/Turabian Style

Takova, Katerina, Tsvetoslav Koynarski, Ivan Minkov, Zdravka Ivanova, Valentina Toneva, and Gergana Zahmanova. 2020. "Increasing Hepatitis E Virus Seroprevalence in Domestic Pigs and Wild Boar in Bulgaria" Animals 10, no. 9: 1521. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091521

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