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Presence of potentially zoonotic viruses in pig faeces at slaughter

P. Machnowska, L. Ellerbroek, R. Johne

PIGS are a source of several zoonotic agents that may be transmitted to people via either direct or indirect routes. Some of these agents may be transmitted by the foodborne route due to faecal contamination of meat at slaughter. This German study aimed to assess the presence of several potentially zoonotic viruses in faecal samples taken from pigs in slaughterhouses and to assess their zoonotic potential using genetic analyses.

A total of 120 faecal samples were collected from fattening pigs at three slaughterhouses in different regions of Germany. The samples were analysed using reverse transcription PCR for the presence of astroviruses, norovirus genogroup II, group A rotaviruses, hepatitis E virus and encephalomyocarditis virus. The detected virus isolates then underwent genetic sequence analysis and genotyping to assess how closely related they were to viral strains that affect people.

The most commonly detected viruses were astroviruses (present in 25 samples) and norovirus genogroup II viruses (present in 17 samples). Hepatitis E virus was detected in three samples, encephalomyocarditis virus in five samples and a group A rotavirus in …

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