Researchers from the USA and Moldova determined the prevalence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) antibody among people who work with swine.
A cross-sectional study of 2 group-matched populations was undertaken in Moldova, a country without reported cases of hepatitis E.
The 2 populations were swine farmers (n = 264) and people without occupational exposure to swine (n = 255).
|HEV infection associated with:|
- Cleaning swine barns
- Assisting sows at birth
- Years of occupational exposure
- Drinking raw milk
| Journal of Infectious Diseases |
The investigators found that the prevalence of HEV infection was higher among swine farmers than among the comparison group (51% vs 25%; prevalence ratio, 2.07).
In multivariate analysis, HEV infection was associated with an occupational history of cleaning barns or assisting sows at birth (odds ratio [OR], 2.46), years of occupational exposure (OR, 1.04 per year), and a history of drinking raw milk (OR, 1.61).
HEV infection was found not to be associated with civilian travel abroad or having piped water in the household.
Jan Drobeniuc, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, concluded on behalf of fellow authors, "The increased prevalence of HEV infection among people with occupational exposure to swine suggests animal-to-human transmission of this infection."