Survival and Elimination of Hepatitis E Virus : A Review

Cook, Nigel; Poel, Wim H.M. van der


Recently, foodborne transmission of hepatitis E virus (HEV) has become a concern due to the identification of undercooked pork products as a risk factor for infection. The limited number of studies which have been performed indicate that HEV could remain infectious at temperatures used in some cooking regimes, although inactivation by heating at 71 °C for 20 min has been demonstrated. There are significant gaps in our knowledge regarding the survival of HEV in foods and the environment (including food contact surfaces), and also regarding the effect of elimination procedures used in food supply chain settings. The lack of a reliable infectivity assay has hampered extensive study. It is recommended that studies be undertaken to develop an efficient propagation system (based on in vitro cell culture), to facilitate the acquisition of extensive information on the survival of HEV in food and the environment, and its response to disinfection and elimination procedures.