According to a Public Health England report, thousands of people in the UK may have been put at risk of contracting Hepatitis E from pork products sold at a leading supermarket which it would not name.
The virus could have infected up to 200,000 people in the UK each year from 2014 to 2014.
By tracing the habits of those infected, the study concluded that only “Supermarket X” was significantly associated with Hepatitis E, in particular own brand sausages. Only pork products from Europe, mainly Holland and Germany, and not the UK carry the strain.
However, sources told the Sunday Times that the supermarket involved was Tesco.
According to the CDC, Hepatitis E is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis E virus. Hepatitis E is a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection. While rare in the United States, Hepatitis E is common in many parts of the world. It is transmitted from ingestion of fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts, and is usually associated with contaminated water supply in countries with poor sanitation. There is currently no FDA-approved vaccine for Hepatitis E.
Hepatitis E is most common in developing countries with inadequate water supply and environmental sanitation. Large hepatitis E epidemics have been reported in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Central America.
Most people with Hepatitis E recover completely. During Hepatitis E outbreaks, the overall case-fatality rate is about 1%. However, for pregnant women, Hepatitis E can be a serious illness with mortality reaching 10%–30% in their third trimester of pregnancy. Hepatitis E could also be serious among persons with preexisting chronic liver disease resulting in decompensated liver disease and death.