Regular readers of this blog or uk.business.agriculture will be familiar with the campaign to get British pigs and pork tested for Hepatitis E, over the past years. There are many relevant posts in the archives.
It is a dangerous disease for humans, not least pig farmers and handlers, even veterinarians. Few outside the UK doubt the dangers to human health.
It looks like we have been successful and a grudging veterinary establishment are finally being forced to test the pigs after a long delay.
The following has been published by the government veterinarians.
It is not publicity that is their problem, it is the appalling health of British pigs and long standing corruption and test faking within the government veterinary service.
Full report here
Hepatitis E and detection in pork and pork products
There has been recent publicity about hepatitis E infection in humans.
This relates to an increase in 010-11 in the proportion of cases of hepatitis E diagnosed where there is no history of travel by the affected person.
A recent publication (Berto and others, 2012) reported PCR detection of hepatitis E virus in 13% of pig faeces and 3% of pig livers at slaughter and 10% of pork sausages at retail.
Whether virus is infective at these different stages was not established. The report of an extensive case:control study in humans is expected in 2013 and may identify risk factors and assist in determining whether there is evidence to support the putative link with consumption of pork and pork products.
In the meantime, a multi-agency, joint-funded abattoir survey of pigs, expected to be conducted in early 2013, will seek to establish the prevalence of infection in slaughter pigs in the UK.
This is highlighted here as an issue which may cause adverse publicity for the pig industry at what is already a difficult time.