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 to13% 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.
Lucy Goodchild | EurekAlert!
Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
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...
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...
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...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences