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Epidemiol Infect. 2014 Jul;142(7):1467-75. doi: 10.1017/S0950268813002318. Epub 2013 Sep 20.

Hepatitis E virus in England and Wales: indigenous infection is associated with the consumption of processed pork products.

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Public Health England, Colindale, London,UK.


Indigenously acquired hepatitis E infections have increased substantially in England and Wales since 2010. Epidemiological investigations were undertaken to determine risk factors for the acquisition of infection. A case-control study (25 cases, 75 controls) was used to test the hypothesis that hepatitis E infection was related to consumption of pork products. In a multivariable model, consumption of pork pie [odds ratio (OR) 6·33, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·41-28·48, P = 0·009] and consumption of ham and sausages purchased from a major UK supermarket chain (OR 10·12, 95% CI 1·68-60·81, P = 0·023) were significantly associated with indigenous infection. The consumption of sausages and ham purchased from the supermarket was highly correlated; however. separate models showed that each variable was significantly associated with infection (OR 7·59, 95% CI 1·81-31·84, P = 0·004 and OR 10·98, 95% CI 1·84-65·35, P = 0·003, respectively). Although contamination of sausages with HEV has previously been shown this study also raises concerns about other processed pork products and whether current practice in preparing these products is sufficient to prevent transmission of HEV.

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