The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has today confirmed the presence of Hepatitis E cases in the country.
The virus, which is now being called the Brexit-virus, is potentially deadly to humans.
The strain of hepatitis is found in pigs and has been linked to continental pig farms, where it is said a tropical virus mutated into the disease.
The number of cases has almost trebled in the past 7 years in England, with up to 1,244 cases reported.
The virus, when contracted, causes flu-like illness and even death in extreme circumstances. The virus, upon ingestion, makes its way into the liver and then it attacks the liver and nerves. This in turn can cause people with weakened immune systems to become extremely ill.
Most people who come in contact with the virus suffer from heightened flu like symptoms.
This strain has been linked to pig farms in France, Holland, Germany and Denmark and is only killed in meat if people cook it for longer than usual. Humans can catch the disease by eating
undercooked pork, sausages, pork pies and bacon.
Experts predict that up to 10% of imported pork from Europe into the UK could be infected with the virus. This means up to 60,000 people are affected in the UK annually.
THE FSAI say the disease has only popped up in Ireland in the past 18months and this means little information is available as of yet. They said “We do not yet know if the type of hepatitis E
virus we see in people is the same as the one found in pigs…To address this, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has funded a three year study into hepatitis E looking at on
The prevalence of the virus will be determined by a new FoVira project set to cost up to €600,000. It will examine the presence of this virus along with Hepatitus A virus, Sapovirus, and
Norovirus in soft fruit and shellfish along with pigs.