Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) Seroprevalences in Pigs and among pork Butchers in two regions of Northern Togo
Author(s): Komi V-M. Setondji, Kuan A. Traoré, Jean B. Ouoba, Essodolom Taale, Bruno L. Ouoba, Bissah K. Nyakou, Judith Akpandja, Nicolas Kpanegue, Pierre Roques, Simplice D. Karou and Nicolas Barro
In the last decade in West Africa, the number of autochthonous cases of hepatitis E has significantly increased. Some hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections have been attributable to zoonotic transmission. This study was carried out to assess the seroprevalence of HEV among the exposed human and local pig populations in the cities of Kara and Sokodé (Togo), and the surrounding localities. A total of 89 breeders-butchers (5 women and 84 men), were recruited from November 2021 to February 2022 and their HEV serological status and socio-demographic status were assessed. In addition, 176 serum samples from slaughtered pig belonging to these breeders-butchers were collected. All human and swine sera were tested for the presence of HEV antibodies. We used the serological survey data from the general population cohort to compare with the current butcher/breeder cohort. The association between anti-HEV status and potential risk factors was evaluated. HEV IgM and IgG antibodies were detected in 20.22% (95% CI: 19.33 - 21.10%) and 5.6% (95% CI: 5.09 - 6.10) of the butcher serum samples, respectively. No specific behavior of the butchers was associated with seropositivity in butchers (p ≥ 0.05). Total anti-HEV antibody seropositivity was 80.11% (95% CI: 79.66 - 80.55) in pigs. These results from asymptomatic population suggest 1) circulation of HEV in the pig butcher population and 2) pigs as the virus reservoir with probable zoonotic transmission in these areas. These data could provide evidence to understand the epidemiology and clues to control transmission in Kara, Sokodé and their surrounding localities in Togo.