Saturday, 23 October 2010

Hepatitis E - three dead - story goes national

The Daily Telegraph has taken the story national - see first report way back in August, second and third reports this month.
The Health Protection Agency is, not very convincingly, denying any link between Hepatitis E, pigs or pork.
Well, they would, wouldn’t they? 
They are the people that were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive on bio-safety risks to their own staff after spilling E.Coli 0157 at one of their labs.  see story
We can be sure the taxpayer pays the fine, and both sides' costs, when one government body prosecutes another.
If they can’t look after themselves, what hope for the rest of us.
They seem to be in direct contradiction with the man they worked with, and who has just received grants from other pig production areas, to continue his research. 
The article, worth reading in full, reflects the difference in views.

Virus warning over undercooked pork after three die

Britons were warned not to eat undercooked pork after three people died from a rare virus.

22 Oct 2010.

A rare strain of the liver disease hepatitis E has killed three people in Cornwall and caused at least 55
more across the UK to fall ill.

Hepatitis E is generally thought to be caused by poor sanitary conditions and previously it had been assumed that British sufferers had caught the disease abroad. But Dr Harry Dalton, a consultant gastroenterologist at Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, said the recent patients he had seen did not fit the usual criteria...

...He believes that the main cause is contact with raw pork and is now researching the link. Patients with liver problems admitted to hospital will be checked to see if the problems had been caused by Hepatitis E.

However a spokesman for the Health Protection Agencsaid: "The South West Peninsula HPA previously worked with Dr Harry Dalton, Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust to investigate a number of hepatitis E cases from Dec 2009 to March 2010 in the Cornwall area. "The team concluded that there was no epidemiological link between the cases or an associated link with eating or handling pork...

...It is acknowledged that pigs and pork can harbour the disease and that this may be the cause of the disease in cases where there has not been any foreign travel, according to the HPA website.

...Dr Dalton said those with existing liver conditions are most at risk and advised people to take care when preparing pork. He added: "The message is not to not eat pork, but to simply make sure it is cooked properly and that hands are washed thoroughly after handling it raw.” Dr Dalton believes hepatitis E could be affecting as many as 1,200 people in the UK every year...
There is no vaccine against hepatitis E.