High seroprevalence of hepatitis E among pigs suggests an animal reservoir in Cameroon
Introduction: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is one of the most prevalent cause of acute hepatitis in humans worldwide. The risk of HEV transmission is not limited only to spread from human to human but the infection can also spread from animals to humans, especially from the domestic pigs. Despite mounting evidence regarding the zoonotic potential of porcine HEV infection, there are limited data on its prevalence in pigs in the sub-Sahara Africa region. Therefore, the present study aimed to determine the seroprevalence of HEV antibodies among pigs in two Cameroonian regions.
Methodology: A total of 162 sera were collected from slaughtered-age pigs from January to March 2012. To determine whether pigs might represent a HEV reservoir in the Northern and Western region in Cameroon, anti-HEV IgG and IgM were tested by ELISA using commercials available kits.
Results: Overall, 70 of the 162 samples (43.2%, 95% CI: 35.5% - 51.2%) were positive for at least one of the serological markers of HEV infection (IgM and / or IgG).We observed a significant seroprevalence of HEV antibodies between the northern and western regions (60% (42/70) and 40% (28/70), p = 0.01796) respectively.
Conclusion: Overall, this study reports a high seroprevalence of Hepatitis E virus antibodies in slaughter pigs in Cameroon. Our findings suggest that pigs might be a cause of zoonotic HEV transmission in Cameroon. Therefore, further studies are warranted to establish the dynamics of zoonotic HEV and characterize the different genotypes circulating in humans and pigs.
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