Hepatitis E virus is prevalent in the pig population of Lao People's Democratic Republic and evidence exists for homogeneity with Chinese Genotype 4 human isolates
Conlan JV., Jarman RG., Vongxay K., Chinnawirotpisan P., Melendrez MC., Fenwick S., Thompson RCA., Blacksell SD.
The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and genotypic range of Hepatitis E virus (HEV) in the pig population of northern Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR). We collected 181 faecal samples from indigenous-breed pigs ≤6 months of age and the faeces was stored in RNA stabilisation buffer due to cold-chain and transport limitations. Twenty-one (11.6%) pigs had detectable HEV RNA and 43.5% of village pig herds were infected. Based on a 240 base pair-nucleotide sequence flanking the junction of open reading frames 1, 2 and 3 (ORF1, ORF2 and ORF3) the isolates were phylogenetically classified within genotype 4. Phylogenetic analyses revealed distinct genetic groupings of the Lao HEV isolates and two groups clustered with human and pig HEV isolates from China. This was the first study to demonstrate genotype 4 HEV in Lao PDR and indicates pigs are a potential reservoir for human HEV infection. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.