Pigs orally inoculated with swine hepatitis E virus are able to infect contact sentinels

Vet Microbiol. 2009 Jul 2;138(1-2):78-84. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.03.008. Epub 2009 Mar 13.


The purpose of the present study was to explore the most likely natural route of infection of swine hepatitis E virus (HEV) by oral inoculation of pigs and to investigate the potential infection by direct contact exposure. A preliminary experiment was performed to assess the infectiousness of the bile used as source of virus. Once confirmed, 16 pigs were inoculated via oral drop with an HEV positive bile suspension containing 2x10(5) genome equivalents per pig. Nine animals were kept as contact sentinels and 12 more pigs were used as negative controls. A number of pigs from the three groups were euthanized at 16, 32 and 64 days post-inoculation. From the HEV inoculated group, three pigs shed virus in faeces, two had virus RNA in bile at necropsy and two seroconverted. In the contact group, two animals showed presence of HEV RNA in bile. This study demonstrates that pigs orally inoculated with a single HEV dose got infection, although few animals had evidence of infection. Moreover, the virus was successfully transmitted to direct contact exposed pigs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Bile / virology
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Feces / virology
  • Hepatitis E / blood
  • Hepatitis E / genetics
  • Hepatitis E / transmission
  • Hepatitis E / veterinary*
  • Hepatitis E / virology
  • Hepatitis E virus
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Animal / genetics
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Animal / transmission
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Animal / virology
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • RNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / transmission
  • Swine Diseases / virology*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • RNA, Viral