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Hepatitis E research receives funding
Date:10/17/2010

Researchers from the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro have received a grant of 337,000 to carry out a two-year study with partners in Glasgow and Norwich into a rare form of Hepatitis - Hepatitis E. The grant has come from the Chief Scientist's Office for Scotland and will be divided between the three centres taking part in the study.

Dr Harry Dalton, a Consultant Gastroenterologist at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and affiliate member of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry's European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), will be leading a team in Cornwall. Dr Dalton and his team in Truro have been involved in developing tests to diagnose Hepatitis E, and they are regarded as one of the world leaders in this condition. In fact an unusual strain of the virus, which was found in a patient in the Cornish Centre, was sent to the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, USA. They sequenced the viral genome and it has been named Kernow C1.

Dr Dalton said: "This came about in Cornwall because I run a jaundice clinic twice a week. We had a small proportion of patients and we couldn't work out what was wrong with them and that's when we discovered it was Hepatitis E."

Hepatitis E is an infection which is normally associated with developing countries such as India, Central Africa and Nepal and is generally thought to be caused by poor sanitary conditions. Previously it had always been assumed that in countries like Britain if Hepatitis E showed up it was in people who had travelled abroad. However, that was proving to not be the situation in many cases found in Cornwall and the rest of the UK.

Dr Dalton said: "Not only had the patients not travelled abroad but they didn't fit the normal age range for the virus. In other parts of the world it usually affects the young and they usually get over it. However, in the cases being seen in the UK it is the middle aged and elderly, particularly men, who are getting
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Contact: Andrew Gould
andrew.gould@pms.ac.uk
44-139-268-6107
The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry
Source:Eurekalert

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