Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) infections are responsible for large waterborne outbreaks in developing countries. Sporadic cases in the developed world are mainly imported from endemic areas. HEV has been suggested to be a zoonotic infection, for which pigs may be the reservoir; specific swine strains of HEV have been identified. Humans are susceptible to infections with swine strains. The aim of this study was to analyse whether Italian pig farmers, veterinarians and abattoir workers are more exposed than persons with other occupations. A total of 92 workers at zoonotic risk and 3511 controls from the general population of two Latium cities, Rome and Rieti, were tested for IgG-HEV antibodies. No significant difference in anti-HEV prevalence was observed between the two groups. The prevalence of general population was 2.9% against 3.3% of pig breeders, while there was a statistically significant difference (p = .0004) between subjects recruited in Rome (prevalence 2.5%) and those recruited in Rieti (prevalence 5.5%). Moreover, in some subgroups of general population and in a subgroup of pig breeders, the prevalence was higher than that previously reported in Italy and in other European countries. The highest value (33%) was found in male housekeepers enrolled in Rome; an analogous value was found in the employees of abattoirs (33%). Further studies are needed to elucidate the transmission routes.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Annali di igiene : medicina preventiva e di comunità|
|Publication status||Published - May 2007|
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