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Henriksson, Ellinor, 2020. Japanese encephalitis in small-scale pig raising in rural Cambodia : Seroprevalence, reproductive disorders and disease awareness. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Clinical Sciences (until 231231)



Japanese encephalitis (JE) is endemic in several Asian countries, including Cambodia. It is a
neurologic disease caused by the mosquito-borne virus JEV, which infects a wide range of
vertebrate hosts. In humans, infection is usually subclinical, but one out of around 250 infected
people develop acute encephalitis. Around 20–30% of the severe clinical cases are fatal, and up
to half of the survivors are faced with permanent neuropsychiatric sequelae. Japanese encephalitis is mainly considered a childhood disease of rural areas. Pigs serve as amplifying host and
develop high-level viremias following infection. They rarely develop clinical disease, although
infection in adult pigs can cause reproductive disorders, such as abortions, stillbirths and
infertility. Thus, JEV could have a major impact on the profitability of pig rearing.

Cambodia is a low-income, Southeast Asian country with 16.2 million people and 1.76 million
pigs (2018 estimates). Pork is the most consumed type of meat, and many households keep
pigs. Most pig producers are smallholders that live in rural areas, where JEV is likely to
circulate. The pigs are usually kept near human dwellings, which increases the risk of infection
in humans. In 2007, the incidence of clinical JE in Cambodia was 11.1 per 100,000 children
under 15 years of age. Sub-national vaccination of children was initiated in 2009, and a national
vaccination programme was established in 2016. The infection rate and seroprevalence in pigs
has been estimated to be high in both rural and peri-urban areas in Cambodia. However, JEV
circulation among pigs has only been studied in the southern part of the country.

In this study, 139 pig smallholders were visited in rural parts of Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear,
Ratanakiri and Stung Treng provinces, north-eastern Cambodia. They were interviewed about
pig management, occurrence of reproductive disorders, knowledge of JE and mosquito-borne
diseases in general, and use of JE preventive measures, such as mosquito protection and
vaccination. Pigs over three months of age (to avoid interference of maternal antibodies) were
sampled for blood, and sera were analysed for JEV antibodies. Information about sex, age,
breed and history of reproductive disorders was recorded for each sampled pig. In total, 242
pigs were sampled.

The apparent seroprevalence was 89.1% in pigs between three and six months of age and 100%
in pigs over six months of age. In total, 93.0% of the pigs were positive. There were no signifycant associations (p<0.05) between serologic status and breed, housing system, proximity to
rice fields, reproductive disorders, or protection of pigs from mosquitos. Province appeared to
be associated with seroprevalence (p<0.001), but very few test results were valid for Preah
Vihear, where the prevalence was lowest. All families used mosquito protection, almost all
respondents knew that mosquitos can transmit diseases, and over two-thirds had heard of JE.
The JE vaccination coverage in children appeared to be high in all provinces.

The results of this study suggest that JEV transmission is intense, not only in southern
Cambodia, but in north-eastern, rural areas as well. Fortunately, people are well-aware of
mosquito-borne diseases and protect themselves from mosquito bites, and many children are
vaccinated against JE. Nonetheless, it is important that national vaccination is continued.

Main title:Japanese encephalitis in small-scale pig raising in rural Cambodia
Subtitle:Seroprevalence, reproductive disorders and disease awareness
Authors:Henriksson, Ellinor
Supervisor:Ström Hallenberg, Gunilla
Examiner:Magnusson, Ulf
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2020
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VY002 Veterinary Medicine Programme 330 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Clinical Sciences (until 231231)
Keywords:Japanese encephalitis, JE, Japanese encephalitis virus, JEV, Cambodia, pig, swine, vaccination, seroprevalence, reproduction, disease knowledge, mosquito-borne diseases, prevention
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal diseases
Deposited On:02 Mar 2021 09:29
Metadata Last Modified:03 May 2022 10:50

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