According to the World Health Organization, 20 million people become infected with Hepatitis E (HEV) worldwide every year. There are more than three million acute cases and 57,000 deaths from HEV infections.
Contamination with this virus does not show any signs of disease in pigs. An HEV infection in humans also usually occurs without symptoms, but for people who already have a medical condition an infection can have serious health implications, such as liver failure and even death.
Contamination and transmission
Research has shown that HEV is present in 50% of the fattening pig farms and that this contamination level remains stable. Much is still unknown about the exact route of transfer between pig farms and from pigs to humans.
Wageningen Bioveterinary Research unravels these transmission routes and looks at contamination levels in surface water and meat products in which raw pork livers are processed. This knowledge is crucial to reduce the burden of disease and the risks of HEV for people.