Hepatitis E virus sequences in swine related to sequences in humans, The Netherlands

Emerg Infect Dis. Nov-Dec 2001;7(6):970-6. doi: 10.3201/eid0706.010608.


Hepatitis E virus (HEV), a major cause of viral hepatitis in much of the developing world, has recently been detected in swine in North America and Asia, raising concern about potential for zoonotic transmission. To investigate if HEV is commonly present in swine in the Netherlands, pooled stool samples from 115 swine farms and nine individual pigs with diarrhea were assayed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) amplification. HEV RNA was detected by RT-PCR and hybridization in 25 (22%) of the pooled specimens, but in none of the individual samples. RT-PCR amplification products of open reading frames 1 and 2 were sequenced, and the results were compared with published sequences of HEV genotypes from humans and swine. HEV strains from swine in the Netherlands were clustered in at least two groups, together with European and American isolates from swine and humans. Our data show that HEV in swine in the Netherlands are genetically closely related to HEV isolates from humans. Although zoonotic transmission has not been proven, these findings suggest that swine may be reservoir hosts of HEV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Hepatitis E / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis E / veterinary*
  • Hepatitis E / virology
  • Hepatitis E virus / classification
  • Hepatitis E virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis E virus / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / epidemiology
  • Swine Diseases / virology*


  • RNA, Viral