Indigenous, foodborne transmission of hepatitis E virus genotype 3 (HEV G3) has become recognized as an emerging problem in industrialized countries. Although mostly asymptomatic, HEV G3 infection has a range of outcomes, including mild illness, severe acute hepatitis, and, of particular concern, chronic progressive hepatitis in immunocompromised patients. Public Health England has monitored cases of acute HEV infection in England and Wales since 2003. Between 2010 and 2017, enhanced surveillance using 2 linked laboratory databases and questionnaires on clinical features and risk factors was conducted. There was a year-on-year increase in the number of infections from 2008 (183) through 2016 (1243). Then, in 2017, the number of infections declined (to 912). As reported previously, HEV G3 group 2 (also known as "G3 abcdhij") is the predominant cause of acute infections, and older men are most at risk. Consumption of pork and pork products was significantly higher among patients than in the general population, but other previously reported associations, such as consumption of shellfish, were not observed. Ongoing surveillance is required to monitor future trends and changes in the epidemiology of the virus. The changing methods of animal husbandry and processing and distribution of animal products needs to be further investigated.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financialsupport. This work was supported by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at the University of Liverpool, in partnership with Public Health England and in collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.