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Another person infected with rat hepatitis E.
The world's first case of rat hepatitis E in humans only became known a few weeks ago. It is now reported that another person has been infected with the dangerous virus. According to experts, the two infections are not related.
70-year-old woman infected with rat hepatitis E.
About two months ago, scientists from the University of Hong Kong reported the first case of rat hepatitis E in humans. According to the researchers, a 56-year-old man was infected with the rat hepatitis E virus. Another infection has now become known. According to a report by the South China Morning Post, a 70-year-old woman from Hong Kong is affected this time. Although she is said to live only three kilometers from the first patient, the two infections are not linked.
No reason to panic
State Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said hours after the news was announced that she was very concerned about the occurrence of the second case.
Dr. Siddharth Sridhar, professor at the University of Hong Kong, said the second case showed that the rat hepatitis E virus could be transmitted to humans.
"If a person's immune system is weak, he could become infected with this virus," said Sridhar, who added, however, that there is no need to panic as the case happened last year.
The patient has recovered
The woman was admitted to the Kwong Wah Hospital in early May last year with symptoms such as abdominal pain, loss of appetite and malaise.
You have also suffered from other diseases. In addition, her immune system was weakened.
Four days later, she was discharged recovered.
The patient's blood sample, taken during her stay in hospital, was later found to carry the rat hepatitis E virus.
The woman did not remember direct contact with rodents and their excretions or rats in their home.
"Based on the available epidemiological information, the source and route of infection could not be determined," said a spokesman for the district.
However, Sridhar said it is possible that the woman unwittingly came into contact with rodents:
"Not seeing doesn't mean there was no contact," said Sridhar. "It is possible that the rodent excretions somehow came into the food the patient ate."
No connection between the two cases
At the end of September, the world's first case of rat hepatitis E in a human was reported.
The 56-year-old man had a liver transplant last May and developed persistent abnormal liver function two months later.
At the time, the doctors suspected that the affected person might have become infected because he consumed foods that were contaminated with rat droppings.
The metropolis has long been struggling with a rat infestation.
The woman's house in the second case is about three kilometers from the man's.
Sridhar said, however, that the current evidence showed no direct links between the two patients.
According to scientists from the University of Hong Kong, the rat hepatitis E virus is very distantly related to human hepatitis E virus variants.
In Europe, eating raw or undercooked pork and liver is the most common trigger for hepatitis E infections.
Most of these infections heal in those affected with no or hardly noticeable symptoms.
Sometimes, flu-like symptoms such as fever, nausea and vomiting or dark urine appear only after weeks.
Later jaundice and upper abdominal pain often occur, although the former does not occur in all patients.
However, infection can also be very dangerous for people with a weakened immune system or with chronic liver disease.
In these people, chronic courses with acute symptoms or dangerous liver cirrhosis are at risk. (ad)