ECDC reports 10-fold increase in hepatitis E infections

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New data shows the number of reported cases of hepatitis E infection has been steadily increasing year on year across Europe.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control is reporting a 10-fold increase in the incidence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection.
New data shows that the number of confirmed cases of HEV has been increasing steadily each year from 514 in 2005 to 5,617 in 2015. Incidence increased three-fold between 2011 and 2015 alone and while HEV infection is generally regarded as a mild disease, 28 deaths were reported by five countries during the 10-year study timeframe. Infections were mainly locally-acquired, with men and people over the age of 50 being most affected.
Commenting on the data, published in the Hepatitis E in the EU/EEA 2005-2015 report, ECDC Chief Scientist Mike Catchpole said the figures could be a result of increased awareness and testing for HEV, but he added that dietary factors may also play a role. The most common route of HEV transmission in the EU is through the consumption of raw or undercooked pork meat and liver.
“When we talk about the target of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health issue by 2030, we should also keep hepatitis E in mind,” he said.

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