Spanish researchers from the Universitat AutÃ²noma of Barcelona say their country’s pig industry is broadly infected by the hepatitis virus. It is even feared the virus cannot be eradicated.
The veterinary faculty at Barcelona’s university, together with the university’s Centre of Investigation into Animal Health (CReSA) recently studied to what extent pigs in Spain are infected with the hepatitis E virus. This virus is capable of transferring from pigs to humans and causing severe liver infections.
The researchers studied a total of 41 Spanish pig production sites and used the ELISA test to trace hepatitis E. At 40 sites they found the animals were carrying antibodies against the virus, meaning that the virus was present or had been present at 97.6% of the sites.
Especially the older sows appeared to be carrying the virus – 60.8% of the animals proved to be doing so. In young piglets, until six weeks, 36.2% proved to be infected. In older piglets, the infection ratio was even higher. The outcome of the research is soon to be published in the Veterinary Journal.
The researchers now say that hepatitis E has most probably become endemic in Spanish pig industry.