Development of a fluorescent microbead-based immunoassay for the detection of hepatitis E virus IgG antibodies in pigs and comparison to an enzyme-linked immunoassay.

Research paper by Olajide A OA Owolodun, Luis G LG Giménez-Lirola, Priscilla F PF Gerber, Brenton J BJ Sanford, Alicia R AR Feagins, Xiang-Jin XJ Meng, Patrick G PG Halbur, Tanja T Opriessnig

Indexed on: 19 Jun '13Published on: 19 Jun '13Published in: Journal of Virological Methods


Swine hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a zoonotic virus and pigs are considered as an important reservoir. Swine HEV infection is widespread and most pig herds are infected. Humans can be infected with swine HEV via consumption of undercooked pork or through direct contact with infected pigs. To minimize the risk of zoonotic transmission, sensitive tools to assess the HEV infection status of pigs and pork products are needed. The objective of this study was to develop a fluorescent microbead-based immunoassay (FMIA) for the detection of IgG antibodies against swine HEV and compare it to an in-house enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA). Three sets of samples were utilized: (A) samples from pigs infected experimentally with different strains of HEV (positive controls, n=72), (B) samples from known HEV-negative pigs (negative controls, n=62) and (C) samples from pigs of unknown HEV infection status (n=182). All samples were tested by both ELISA and FMIA. The results on the experimental samples with known HEV exposure indicate that both assays have a specificity of 100% while the sensitivity ranges from 84.6% (ELISA) to 92.3% (FMIA). The overall prevalence of HEV IgG antibodies in field samples from pigs with unknown HEV exposure was 21.9% (40/182) for the ELISA and 21.4% (39/182) for the FMIA. The two assays had an almost perfect overall agreement (Kappa=0.92).