Anger at secrecy over pig-virus sausages

Barsaba Taglieri
Agosto 21, 2017

The virus, which can cause liver cirrhosis and neurological damage, could have infected up to 200,000 people in the United Kingdom each year from 2014 to 2014, according to a Public Health England (PHE) report.

According to a report on PigWorld.co.uk, a spokesperson from the National Pig Association (NPA) acknowledged the sudden spike in cases but said that "further research and surveillance" was required to "determine the true cause of the rise in hepatitis E cases in the United Kingdom".

A report, published last month by the government agency, found the virus strain has not been found in British pigs so could have come from imported meat. Hepatitis E leads to a mild and short-term infection in most persons unless the patient already has a pre-existing liver disease or is pregnant. These persons had no history of travel outside United Kingdom from where they could have acquired the infection.

The research was carried out between 2014 and 2016.

Pork products sold at a leading supermarket may have infected British shoppers with a virus that can cause liver failure and death, it has emerged.

According to the newspaper, PHE's report states: "The implicated products are pork sausages, which require cooking prior to consumption, and ready-to-eat pre-packed ham". The supermarket in question is using their own brand of sausages and these could be associated with the infection.

An FSA spokeswoman said they are aware the report's findings and are reviewing all aspects of hepatitis E infection with other government departments and industry.

"As a precaution, the FSA advises consumers that all whole cuts of pork, pork products and offal should be thoroughly cooked until steaming hot throughout, the meat is no longer pink and juices run clear", a spokesperson said. The virus is a RNA virus of which there are found "genotypes".

Hepatitis E is spread via the fecal-oral route.

This supports the findings of two previous studies dating back to 2011 which point to Supermarket X's products being a key source of the virus. Outbreaks of the virus usually occur after monsoons and heavy downpours that disrupt water supplies.

Symptoms of the virus can include feeling flu-like, yellowing of the skin and eyes, tiredness, fever, vomiting and loss of appetite. Lover damage, fibrosis and cirrhosis occurs in immunocompromised individuals.

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