"The source and the route of infection could not be determined," health officials said.
A 61-year-old man in Hong Kong has been diagnosed with the rare rat hepatitis E virus after he sought medical help at Pok Fu La’s Queen Mary Hospital for his underlying illnesses.
According to reports, health officials are now investigating the case as it appears that the source of infection remains unknown as of the moment. The virus is typically found in rats and ferrets, although experts are still unsure about how the disease can be transmitted to humans.
During their investigations, the Center for Health Protection discovered that there weren’t any rodent or droppings in the man’s house. He also had no travel history and his contacts are all asymptomatic so far.
“Based on the available epidemiological information, the source and the route of infection could not be determined,” said a representative.
Meanwhile, a South China Morning Post article tells us that the unnamed man suffered from abnormal liver functions. Although his condition eventually improved, doctors discovered he had the rat hepatitis E virus after his blood sample was tested.
Individuals who suffer from the disease often experience abdominal pain, joint pain, or skin rashes. Acute cases, in the other hand, usually report symptoms such as fever, nausea, loss of appetite, and vomiting. The disease may also lead to acute liver failure or even death in some cases.
This particular case of the virus is the second for the year, with the first one reported last January. In comparison, there were a total of 6 infections recorded in 2019.
In September 2018, a 56-year-old man in Hong Kong was confirmed as the world’s first person to contract the rat hepatitis E virus.
Siddharth Sridhar, clinical assistant at University of Hong Kong, said:
“For these kinds of rare infections, unusual infections, even one case is enough to make public health authorities and researchers very alert about the implications of the disease.”
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