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An occupational risk of hepatitis E virus infection in the workers along the meat supply chains in Guangzhou, China
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-18, 03:47 authored by JY Wu, EHY Lau, ML Lu, C Guo, ZM Guo, J Yuan, JH Lu
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) causes infections in humans and animals. HEV have been identified in pig farms, markets and swine workers, but studies with parallel observations along the poultry and pork supply chains remains limited. This study aimed to characterize HEV infection risks in workers along the meat supply chain. Two rounds of cross-sectional surveys were performed among swine and poultry workers in pig and poultry farms, slaughterhouses, wholesale and retail live poultry markets, live pig markets and pork markets. Human sera from the workers and the general population were collected and tested for HEV specific IgM/IgG antibodies by commercial indirect-ELISA test kits. Risk factors of HEV seropositivity associated with different occupational settings were identified using logistic regression. 47.0% (156/332) of the swine workers and 40.2% (119/296) of the poultry workers were seropositive, compared to 26.1% (35/134) in the general population. Multivariable analysis showed that human HEV infection risk increased along the pork supply chain, with the highest risk at pig slaughterhouses (adjusted OR = 3.19, 95% CI = 1.49–6.88) and pork markets (adjusted OR = 2.02, 95% CI = 1.04–3.97), but no significant higher risk was observed among poultry workers. Swine occupational exposure is associated with HEV infection, especially in workers in pig slaughterhouses and pork markets. Strengthening control measures in these settings is important for HEV control and long term HEV elimination.