A UK supermarket may have unintentionally infected thousands of people with the Hepatitis E virus transmitted through sausages and pork products from Europe, Public Health England have warned. Imported pork infects between 150,000 and 200,000 British people a year with the virus, the new research claims, and the products mainly come from Holland and Germany.
Hepatitis E, which is officially called HEV G3-2, can cause liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver which prevents it working properly) and neurological damage. UK pigs do not have this particular virus strain. The supermarket in question has not been named, and instead researchers are referring to it as Supermarket X.
The products have been reported as pork sausages which need cooking before being ready to eat, as well as sliced ham. With the increase in figures of those affected, NHS Blood and Transplant have begun screening all donated blood and will do the same for donated organs and tissues in the future. The research was based on monitoring the shopping of infected people. Most were said to suffer few symptoms however some developed serious illnesses.