J Vet Sci.  2007 Mar;8(1):51-55. 10.4142/jvs.2007.8.1.51.

Detection of swine hepatitis E virus in the porcine hepatic lesion in Jeju Island

  • 1Department of Veterinary Medicine, Cheju National University, Jeju 690-756, Korea. kimjhoon@cheju.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea.


Swine hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an emerging zoonotic pathogen due to its close genomic similarity to human HEV. The prevalence of swine HEV in the hepatic lesion of pigs from the Jeju Island was investigated by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). In total, 40 pigs with hepatitis lesions were selected from 19 different farms, based on examination by microscopy. RTPCR findings revealed swine HEV in 22 cases (55%), including 18 suckling pigs and 4 growing pigs. Several histopathological lesions, including multifocal lymphoplasmacytic hepatitis, portal inflammation, and focal hepatocellular necrosis, were observed in liver sections of swine HEV PCR-positive pigs. The present study suggests that the prevalence of swine HEV is very high in the pig population in Jeju Island, and that pigs are infected at early stages of growth (under 2 months of age). The high prevalence of swine HEV in pigs in Jeju Island and the ability of this virus to infect across species puts people with swine-associated occupations at possible risk of zoonotic infection.


Jeju Island; liver; pig; RT-PCR; swine hepatitis E virus
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