Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is highly disseminated among swine herds worldwide. HEV is also a threat to public health, since particularly genotypes 3 and 4 may cause acute hepatitis in human beings. No previous studies were done on the occurrence of HEV in environmental samples in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. In the present study, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was employed to detect the presence of HEV in swine feces and in effluents from slurry lagoons in farms located in the municipality of Teutônia, inside the area of swine husbandry in the state. Pooled fecal samples from the floor of pig barns from 9 wean-to-finish farms and liquid manure samples were collected from the slurry lagoons from 8 of these farms. From the pooled fecal samples, 8/9 were positive for the HEV ORF1 gene by RT-PCR; all the slurry lagoon samples were positive for HEV RNA (100%). The identity of the HEV ORF1 amplicons was confirmed by sequencing belonging to HEV genotype 3, which was previously shown to be circulating in South America.
Hepatitis E virus; swine HEV; slurry; zoonosis