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Hepatitis E widespread among English blood donors

A trend toward undercooking pork may explain the broad occurrence of hepatitis E (shown) among blood donors in England.

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Guest post by Nsikan Akpan

Hepatitis E virus marks about one in 3,000 blood donors in England, researchers report July 27 in The Lancet. Most people clear the virus without suffering symptoms, but the infection can cause liver damage in those with weakened immune systems, such as organ transplant recipients, or those with underlying liver disease.

After screening 225,000 blood donations for signs of hepatitis E, the team determined that the virus is widespread in donors and the English population. Still, the researchers don’t recommend broader testing for the virus. Instead, they advise more thorough cooking of pork, a common source of the disease.

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