Rats found to infect humans with Hepatitis E

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MANILA, Philippines – After an unusual came before the University of Hongkong infectious disease experts, 10 more individuals suffer the same case. The said peculiar case is the human infection of rat Hepatitis E.

The most recent case of the said liver disease was confirmed last April 30. The said case was from a 61-year-old-man who was diagnosed with abnormal liver function.

HKU resident microbiologist Dr. Siddarth Sridhar stated that there may be hundreds more individuals that are left undiagnosed.

Currently, a lot of mystery surrounds this new case of liver disease known as the HEV. “Based on the available epidemiological information, the source and the route of infection could not be determined,” said Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection.

This said incident of rat to human transmission is known to be the first in history. Dr. Sridhar explained, “Suddenly, we have a virus that can jump from street rats to humans.”

Not an isolated case

According to HKU, this is not an isolated case. This may have gone in a transmission spree around the world even before 2017 and 2018.

Apart from the known cases in Hongkong, there are records of a Canadian man also tested positive for the rat HEV. The said patient’s case was back in February 2019 when he experienced hives, nausea, sever jaundice and an inflamed liver.

It is said that this type of hepatitis was only caught because authorities decided to perform a broad type of test. If not, “the diagnosis might have been missed,” said the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control official Cornelia Adlhoch admitted that there is minimal awareness about this. In a letter, the official stated, that ” a lack of awareness by physicians and poorly standardized diagnostics led to under reporting.”

HKU is currently rallying for the medical community to take action on this disease before it gets any larger.

Dr. Sridhar stated that, “We need ongoing vigilance in the public to control this unusual infection. I really hope that public health authorities take the first step and look at how much their populations are actually being exposed to rat hepatitis E.”

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