Samples of serum, tissue and faeces from two pig herds in England were examined for hepatitis E virus by reverse-transcriptase PCR (RT-PcR), and a virus strain from each herd was partially sequenced. Eleven of 42 faecal samples and 16 of 21 tissue samples from two pigs were positive for the virus by RT-PCR. Analysis of two unique but closely related nucleotide sequences obtained from the two herds showed that the viruses clustered in genotype III (6) with a human strain of the virus from an autochthonously acquired case of acute hepatitis in the uK. An ELISA based on recombinant open reading frame 2 (ORF-2) was used to detect antibodies to hepatitis E virus in 256 pig sera from the uK; 85-5 per cent of the samples were positive, compared with 58 per cent of similar samples from Swedish pigs and 23-5 per cent of samples from Dutch pigs.
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