Hong Kong health officials announced that they are investigating cases of hepatitis E spread through mice after three elderly men were diagnosed with the type of hepatitis E usually associated with mice, Tuesday (14/05/2019).
According to RTHK, a 74-year-old man from Tuen Mun died and the other two men, aged 67 and 81, were said to be in stable condition. None of them reported having contact with mice.
The hepatitis E strain, which is usually present in mice, was previously thought by scientists to be unable to affect humans, until two Hong Kong residents contracted it last year.
“Based on available epidemiological information, the source and route of infection cannot be determined. The investigation is ongoing,” said a spokesperson for the Center for Health Protection as quoted by RTHK, Tuesday (14/5/2019).
In September 2019, officials revealed that a 56-year-old liver transplant patient had been infected with the hepatitis E strain. It was suspected that he had contracted a rat that lived near a garbage room at Choi Wan Estate which was indeed a rat’s nest.
Medical experts believe the case is the first of its kind in the world because it was previously thought that hepatitis E could not pass from mice to humans.