Pork May Be the Source of Acute Hepatitis E Reported in US

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the primary cause of epidemic and sporadic enterically transmitted non-A, non-B hepatitis worldwide, according to the Mayo Clinic Until this report, the US had been spared infection with HEV. In the case-report of a 62 year-old Minnesota man, both the pathologic findings in the liver biopsy specimen and the clinical course were characteristic of acute hepatitis E, as confirmed by nucleotide sequencing. The source of the infection could not be identified, although the man had eaten food at a California restaurant where the workers were not screened for HEV.

HEV infection should be considered in any person coming from an HEV endemic area with hepatitis and negative serologic markers for hepatitis A, B, and C .Pork may be the reservoir responsible for sporadic, locally acquired cases of acute hepatitis reported in regions with relatively mild climates. The comment is based on two recent isolations of HEV from American swine that suggest that, .in the United States, hepatitis E is a zoonosis with the swine population as one of its hosts.

Mayo Clin Proc December 1997;72:1133-1136,1197-1198

COMMENT: More support from western medical science to not eat pork.

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