Category Archives: Hepatitis E

Research – Occurrence of Human Enteric Viruses in Shellfish along the Production and Distribution Chain in Sicily, Italy


Contamination of bivalve mollusks with human pathogenic viruses represents a recognized food safety risk. Thus, monitoring programs for shellfish quality along the entire food chain could help to finally preserve the health of consumers. The aim of the present study was to provide up-to-date data on the prevalence of enteric virus contamination along the shellfish production and distribution chain in Sicily. To this end, 162 batches of mollusks were collected between 2017 and 2019 from harvesting areas, depuration and dispatch centers (n = 63), restaurants (n = 6) and retail stores (n = 93) distributed all over the island. Samples were processed according to ISO 15216 standard method, and the presence of genogroup GI and GII norovirus (NoV), hepatitis A and E viruses (HAV, HEV), rotavirus and adenovirus was investigated by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (real-time-RT PCR), nested (RT)-PCR and molecular genotyping. Our findings show that 5.56% of samples were contaminated with at least one NoV, HAV and/or HEV. Contaminated shellfish were sampled at production sites and retail stores and their origin was traced back to Spain and several municipalities in Italy. In conclusion, our study highlights the need to implement routine monitoring programs along the whole food chain as an effective measure to prevent foodborne transmission of enteric viruses. View Full-Text

Research- Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii, Hepatitis E Virus and Salmonella antibodies in meat juice samples from pigs at slaughter in Switzerland

Journal of Food Protection


Toxoplasma gondii , hepatitis E virus (HEV) and Salmonella are zoonotic foodborne pathogens that may be transmitted to humans through the consumption of raw or undercooked pork.  The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of anti- Toxoplasma gondii , anti-HEV and anti- Salmonella antibodies from healthy pigs at slaughter in Switzerland. In the period of August to September 2020 diaphragm muscle of Swiss fattening pigs was collected in three Swiss abattoirs from a total of 188 farms. Two randomly chosen pig carcasses per farm were selected. On the basis of the slaughter data, the production system and the canton of origin were noted, comparing indoor (n=120) and free-range farming (n=68), and regional allocation. The meat juice of these samples was analyzed for pathogen-specific antibodies using commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits. The seroprevalences were 1.3% for T. gondii , 71.8% for the HEV and 5.3% for Salmonella , respectively. Comparing the origins, the results of many cantons weren’t meaningful due to the low number of samples. No regional accumulations were found for T. gondii and the HEV. The results showed that 2.1% of the farms had least one T. gondii seropositive animal, 80.3% had at least one HEV seropositive animal, and 8.5% had at least one Salmonella seropositive animal, respectively. The seropositivity of T. gondi i was higher in free-range pigs than in indoor pigs, whereas anti- Salmonella antibodies were more common in pigs from indoor farming than in outdoor pigs. The seroprevalence of anti HEV-Abs was similar in free-range and indoor farming pigs. Compared to studies from 2012 the seroprevalence of T. gondii has decreased whereas the seroprevalence of the HEV has increased and is highly prevalent among fattening pigs in Switzerland. The low seroprevalence of Salmonella has remained stable in recent years.

Research – Case–Control Study of Risk Factors for Acquired Hepatitis E Virus Infections in Blood Donors, United Kingdom, 2018–2019


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis in England. Substantial yearly increases of autochthonous infections were observed during 2003–2016 and again during 2017–2019. Previous studies associated acute HEV cases with consumption of processed pork products, we investigated risk factors for autochthonous HEV infections in the blood donor population in England. Study participants were 117 HEV RNA–positive blood donors and 564 HEV RNA–negative blood donors. No persons with positive results were vegetarian; 97.4% of persons with positive results reported eating pork products. Consuming bacon (OR 3.0, 95% CI 1.7–5.5; p<0.0001), cured pork meats (OR 3.5, 95% CI 2.2–5.4; p<0.0001), and pigs’ liver (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.0–8.3; p = 0.04) were significantly associated with HEV infection. Our findings confirm previous links to pork products and suggest that appropriate animal husbandry is essential to reduce the risk for HEV infection.

Research – Inactivation of Foodborne Viruses by High-Pressure Processing (HPP)



High-pressure processing (HPP) is an innovative non-thermal food preservation method. HPP can inactivate microorganisms, including viruses, with minimal influence on the physicochemical and sensory properties of foods. The most significant foodborne viruses are human norovirus (HuNoV), hepatitis A virus (HAV), human rotavirus (HRV), hepatitis E virus (HEV), human astrovirus (HAstV), human adenovirus (HuAdV), Aichi virus (AiV), sapovirus (SaV), and enterovirus (EV), which have also been implicated in foodborne outbreaks in various countries. The HPP inactivation of foodborne viruses in foods depends on high-pressure processing parameters (pressure, temperature, and duration time) or non-processing parameters such as virus type, food matrix, water activity (aw), and the pH of foods. HPP was found to be effective for the inactivation of foodborne viruses such as HuNoV, HAV, HAstV, and HuAdV in foods. HPP treatments have been found to be effective at eliminating foodborne viruses in high-risk foods such as shellfish and vegetables. The present work reviews the published data on the effect of HPP processing on foodborne viruses in laboratory media and foods. View Full-Text

Scotland – HPS publishes annual surveillance reports for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E, Listeria, Norovirus, Shigella and Yersinia in Scotland for 2019


12 May 2020

Article: 54/1901

On 12 May 2020, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) published the following annual surveillance reports:

Singapore -Eating raw pig liver from local market may raise chances of contracting Hepatitis E virus liver disease


Do you like to eat raw liver? Is liver pâté one of your favorite dishes? You may want to think twice before ingesting such a meal again, as researchers at the Singapore General Hospital have found definite similarities between the virus strains of Hepatitis E virus or (HEV) in pig liver and human liver.


Research – Hepatitis E virus genotype 3 strains and a plethora of other viruses detected in raw and still in tap water

Science Direct

In this study, next generation sequencing was used to explore the virome in 20L up to 10,000L water from different purification steps at two Swedish drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs), and in tap water. One DWTP used ultrafiltration (UF) with 20 nm pores, the other UV light treatment after conventional treatment of the water. Viruses belonging to 26 different families were detected in raw water, in which 6–9 times more sequence reads were found for phages than for known environmental, plant or vertebrate viruses. The total number of viral reads was reduced more than 4-log10 after UF and 3-log10 over UV treatment. However, for some viruses the reduction was 3.5-log10 after UF, as for hepatitis E virus (HEV), which was also detected in tap water, with sequences similar to those in raw water and after treatment. This indicates that HEV had passed through the treatment and entered into the supply network. However, the viability of the viruses is unknown. In tap water 10–130 International Units of HEV RNA/mL were identified, which is a comparable low amount of virus. The risk of getting infected through consumption of tap water is probably negligible, but needs to be investigated. The HEV strains in the waters belonged to subtypes HEV3a and HEV3c/i, which is associated with unknown source of infection in humans infected in Sweden. None of these subtypes are common among pigs or wild boar, the major reservoirs for HEV, indicating that water may play a role in transmitting this virus. The results indicate that monitoring small fecal/oral transmitted viruses in DWTPs may be considered, especially during community outbreaks, to prevent potential transmission by tap water.

Italy – Hepatitis cases linked to turmeric food supplements in Italy

Food Safety News

Two cases of hepatitis have been associated with a brand of turmeric food supplements, according to Italian health authorities.

The Istituto Superiore di Sanità (National Institute of Health/ISS) reported that two types of turmeric food supplements of the company Di Destro Franco and Masetto Loretta S.n.c., based in Via Padova 56, Vigonza have been recalled.

Curcumina Plus 95 percent with production lot code 18L823 and expiration date of October 2021 and Curcumina 95 percent with production lot code 18M861 and expiration  date of November 2021 are affected.

They were produced by the firm Frama S.R.L. in Noventa Padovana.

ISS reported that the two acute cholestatic hepatitis cases “evolved favorably” but did not give more details on the patients or type of hepatitis involved.

Information – FSA – Hepatitis E – Fact Sheet

FSA Virusds

Hepatitis E is an infection caused by the hepatitis E virus (also known as HEV). Both humans and animals can be infected by HEV.

For most people, the symptoms of hepatitis E are mild and clear up within four weeks, but in rare cases the disease can be fatal.

UK Scotland – Annual Summary of Hepatitis E Infections, 2017

HPS Scotland

15 May 2018

Reports of hepatitis E (HEV) infection in Scotland have increased in recent years, as they have elsewhere in the UK. Since 2011, laboratory reports of HEV in Scotland have increased from 13 in 2011, to a peak of 206 in 2016 (Figure 1). In 2017, HPS received 170 reports of HEV, a decline of 36 (17.5%) on the number in 2016.


  • Health Protection Scotland