First Case of Human Rat Virus in Hong Kong
Hepatitis E is a liver virus that affects approximately 20 million people across the globe. That’s true for the common, human variant of HEV. A variant of Hepatitis E affecting rats was previously not known to infect humans, but a Hong Kong study now shows otherwise for the first time.
The University of Hong Kong has released a study demonstrating that a Hong Kong man had contracted rat HEV, a finding the university claims has “major public health significance.”
The first recorded man infected with rat HEV, a 56-year-old Hong Kong resident, repeatedly obtained abnormal results from liver tests following a liver transplant. According to the University of Hong Kong, “This study conclusively proves for the first time in the world that rat HEV can infect humans to cause clinical infection.”
There were signs of a rat infestation outside of the patient’s home, and it is hypothesized that he contracted rat HEV by eating food contaminated with rat droppings. This has been seen as a “wake-up call” for Hong Kong to step up its hygiene.
Caiman Cotton is a lead contributor for The Daily Lead.