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ISSN : 2287-7991(Print)
ISSN : 2287-8009(Online)
Journal of the Preventive Veterinary Medicine Vol.39 No.3 pp.130-133

Evidence of infection with hepatitis B virus-like agent in pigs

Young-Jo Song1, Woo-Jung Park1, Byung-Joo Park1, Joong-Bok Lee1, Seung-Yong Park1, Chang-Seon Song1, Sang-Won Lee1, Choi-Kyu Park2, Jae-Young Song3, In-Soo Choi1†
1Departments of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea
2Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 702-701, Republic of Korea
3Viral Disease Division, Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, Anyang 430-757, Republic of Korea


Human hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains a serious public health problem worldwide, as it is one of the mainrisk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Cross-species transmission of HBV has been reported in non-human primates, and pigs may also be infected with HBV or an HBV-like agent. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the presence of HBV antigens and anti-HBV antibodies in pig sera, providing further support for the existence of HBV or an HBV-like agent in pig populations. The HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) and HBV e antigen (HBeAg) in pig serum samples were detected using HBsAg and HBeAg ELISA Kits, respectively. Antibodies to HBsAg and the Hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) in serum samples were also detected using anti-HBsAg and anti-HBcAg antibody ELISA Kits, respectively. HBsAg and HBeAg were detected in 7 of 442 (1.6%) and 7 of 184 (3.8%) pig serum samples, respectively. Furthermore, antibodies specific to HBsAg and HBcAg were identified in 45 of 442 (10.2%) and 39 of 434 (9.0%) pig serum samples, respectively. However, neither HBV DNA nor antibodies to HBeAg were detected in 409 and 298 pig serum samples, respectively. HBV antigens and anti-HBV antibodies were both present in a considerable number of pig serum samples, suggesting that pigs could be infected with a variant HBV or an HBV-like agent. Further studies will be necessary to confirm cross-species infection of pigs with HBV.