Incidence, diversity, and molecular epidemiology of sapoviruses in swine across Europe

Gábor Reuter*, Janet Zimšek-Mijovski, Mateja Poljšak-Prijatelj, Ilaria Di Bartolo, Franco Maria Ruggeri, Tuija Kantala, Leena Maunula, István Kiss, Sándor Kecskeméti, Nabil Halaihel, Javier Buesa, Christina Johnsen, Charlotte K. Hjulsager, Lars E. Larsen, Marion Koopmans, Á Blenda Böttiger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Porcine sapovirus is an enteric calicivirus in domestic pigs that belongs to the family Caliciviridae. Some porcine sapoviruses are genetically related to human caliciviruses, which has raised public health concerns over animal reservoirs and the potential cross-species transmission of sapoviruses. We report on the incidence, genetic diversity, and molecular epidemiology of sapoviruses detected in domestic pigs in a comprehensive study conducted in six European countries (Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, and Spain) between 2004 and 2007. A total of 1,050 swine fecal samples from 88 pig farms were collected and tested by reverse transcription-PCR for sapoviruses, and positive findings were confirmed by sequencing. Sapoviruses were detected in 80 (7.6%) samples collected on 39 (44.3%) farms and in every country. The highest prevalence was seen among piglets aged 2 to 8 weeks, and there was no significant difference in the proportion of sapovirus-positive findings for healthy animals and animals with diarrhea in Spain and Denmark (the only countries where both healthy animals and animals with diarrhea were tested). On the basis of the sequence of the RNA polymerase region, highly heterogeneous populations of viruses representing six different genogroups (genogroups III, VI, VII, and VIII, including potential new genogroups IX and X) were identified, with a predominance of genogroup GIII (50.6%). Genogroup VIII, found in five of the six countries, had the highest degree of homology (up to 66% at the amino acid level) to human sapovirus strains. Sapoviruses are commonly circulating and endemic agents in swine herds throughout Europe. Highly heterogeneous and potential new genogroups of sapoviruses were found in pigs; however, no "human-like" sapoviruses were detected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


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