Serological evidence of continued Japanese encephalitis virus transmission in Singapore nearly three decades after end of pig farming

Grace Yap, Xiao Fang Lim, Sharon Chan, Choon Beng How, Mahathir Humaidi, Gladys Yeo, Diyar Mailepessov, Marcella Kong, Yee Ling Lai, Chiharu Okumura, Lee Ching Ng
2019 Parasites & Vectors  
Singapore used to report an annual average of 14 cases of Japanese encephalitis, but ever since the abolishment of pig farms in the early 1990s, the local incidence rate for Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infections has reduced drastically. Studies done in the early 2000s demonstrated the presence of JEV-specific antibodies in animals such as wild boars, dogs, chickens and goats on the offshore island and peripheral parts of the Singapore, indicative of prior JEV exposure. A JEV wildlife and
more » ... A JEV wildlife and sentinel chicken surveillance system was initiated in 2010 through to 2017 to study the animal host seroprofiles. Results: A total of 12/371 (3.23%) of resident bird samples, 24/254 (9.45%) of migratory bird samples and 10/66 (15.16%) of wild boar samples were positive for the presence of JEV antibodies. Seroconversions in sentinel chickens were observed at two time points. Through this study, two sites with active transmission of JEV amongst avian or porcine hosts were identified. Conclusions: JEV transmission in animal hosts has continued despite the phasing out of pig farming nearly thirty years ago; however, the public health risk of transmission remains low. Environmental management for mosquito population remains key to keeping this risk low.
doi:10.1186/s13071-019-3501-0 fatcat:w7pmmktpkjco5gekuhydjvp6ku