Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Hepatitis E in Europe – are pigs or pork the problem?

Hepatitis E virus infections can be fatal in pregnant women, but until recently doctors thought the disease was confined to China, India and developing countries. Now Europeans are also contracting the disease here, say scientists today (Monday 3 September 2007) at the Society for General Microbiology’s 161st Meeting at the University of Edinburgh, UK, which runs from 3-6 September 2007.

Hepatitis E virus is one of the few viruses which has been shown to be transmitted directly from animals through food. It was recently thought to be confined to developing countries, and although scientists are still unsure exactly how it spreads to people, direct contact with pigs or eating contaminated pork products is a likely route.

“If this proves to be a relevant route for pig to human infection for Hepatitis E in Europe, food safety regulations might need to be adapted accordingly”, says Dutch researcher Erwin Duizer. “Where we do find Hepatitis E virus identified in Europe then the strain is usually closely related to the viruses found in pigs in the same country”.

Far fewer cases of Hepatitis E virus are reported than actually occur, since doctors currently rarely ask for the relevant diagnostic tests in many industrialized countries. Although they do not yet know the exact route for most infections, the scientists do know that these viruses can infect people if they eat infected pig’s livers without cooking them.

Genetic material from Hepatitis E viruses has already been detected in pig livers being offered for sale in Japan, USA and the Netherlands, proving that European pigs are in contact with Hepatitis E. Wild boar products could present a similar risk.

“To improve understanding of this disease, doctors should routinely start asking for Hepatitis E screening tests, even if the patient has not been travelling in India, China or other countries where they might expect to be at risk of infection” says Erwin Duizer. “Once more people are correctly diagnosed with viral Hepatitis E, they can be treated more effectively and we can learn more on the transmission routes. Current rates of diagnosis are up to 13% of acute viral hepatitis patients in European countries, but we think the true rate is much higher. Up to 3% of blood donors in Europe show evidence of exposure to the virus through detectable antibodies”.

“We also need to quickly work out the local route of infection in Europeans, as knowing if Hepatitis E is directly caused by eating pork meat or liver, or caused by foods or people being in contact with pig faeces, will make it possible to implement effective preventive measures”, says Erwin Duizer.

Janet Hurst | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>