Hong Kong has recently reported two instances of human beings being infected with the rodent illness rat hepatitis. They are the only cases of the virus being passed from a rat to a person in the world, and they happened in a matter of months of each other.
The most recent patient was a 70-year-old woman. Scientists detected the disease while examining blood samples taken from individuals who had contracted the hepatitis E virus in the past. It follows the case in September of a man in his mid-fifties who was also found to have the rat version of the virus. Leading to fears the disease may be able to be passed from rodents to humans.
Hepatitis E is a type of liver inflammation brought on by being infected by the hepatitis E virus. It is invariably transmitted via unclean water or contaminated food, such as consuming spoiled or undercooked meat. Approximately 20 million people suffer from the condition annually, mostly in Eastern or South Asia, and can bring on a variety of symptoms, ranging from slightly uncomfortable to potentially hazardous.
The first documented account of someone being infected with the hepatitis E virus was in India in the mid-fifties. The first recorded instance of the rat version took place in Germany in 2010, where it was thought to differ a great deal from the strain which infected human beings, although this no longer seems to be the case.
Experts in Hong Kong believe those with a weak immunity may be more at risk. The man who first contracted the rat hepatitis had had a liver transplant almost eighteen months before and displayed abnormal liver symptoms. It would take clinical tests to diagnosis the rat hepatitis virus. But the question is where did it come from? What was the source?
There was no trace of infection in his blood, and it was not transferred through organ donation. However, when researchers examined his home, they found a build-up of refuse and a rat infestation, where they left their droppings behind. The man who first caught the virus and the woman may have both fallen ill in 2017 and resided in the same neighborhood but they could find no other connection between the two.
The first patient, the man, was treated with antiviral medication, although it is thought his recovery may have taken longer due to his deteriorated immune system. By contrast, the woman’s condition did not call for medication and cleared up on its own.
Many people may be weary at the sight of a rat infestation, the chances it may be carrying the hepatitis virus are incredibly rare — almost a million to one shot. However, it does draw attention to the fact rodents can spread disease and their droppings can contaminate food. So, if you are presently facing a rat issue in your home or business, don’t be afraid. All you have to do is to call in the professionals to eradicate the problem. Bring in the pest elimination and protection experts with over 15 years’ experience, Pest Master Ltd.