This research is inspired by the increasing number hepatitis E virus infections in humans and its possible relationship with the high prevalence of this virus in pigs. Better insight into transmission routes and the associated risks is needed in order to take preventative measures.
Given the high degree of genetic affinity between viruses found in patients and in pigs, it is assumed that pigs are the source of infection. However, despite studies aimed at identifying risk factors in different countries, it is still unclear what the mode of transmission is exactly. Offal and specific products containing raw pork have been identified as risky, but other transmission-routes from the pork production chain are assumed. There is an urgent need for a proper risk analysis.
This project will clarify the most important HEV-transmission routes. What real health gains can be achieved by intervention in the pork production chain?