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Geographical factors Researchers discover Swiss strain of hepatitis E

patient in a hospital bed

Most hepatitis E cases resolve themselves but people with weak immune systems can be vulnerable to the disease. 

(Keystone)

Researchers at Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) have discovered a strain of the hepatitis E virus that is unique to Switzerland. 

They say this can be explained by geographical factors, since Switzerland's lakes and mountains form a natural barrier with the outside world. Another factor is that Switzerland does not belong to the European Union, and since it has its own rules on agricultural trade, 96% of pork consumed in the country is locally produced.  In developed countries, most hepatitis E cases are caused by eating undercooked meat, particularly pork and game.

Infection with the hepatitis E virus (HEV) is one of the leading causes of acute hepatitis and jaundice in the world. The main cause worldwide is contaminated water, according to the World Health Organizationexternal link

Sickness causes fever, muscular and abdominal pains, loss of appetite and nausea. More than 90% of infections do not cause symptoms and most patients recover without medical treatment. 

There are many different genotypes of this virus, capable of infecting a large number of animals and humans.

Health risk New blood tests to screen for hepatitis E

A new test to screen blood donations for the hepatitis E virus is to be introduced by the Swiss Blood Transfusion Service.

This content was published on June 27, 2018 3:13 PM


Keystone-SDA/jc

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