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

it. Since we have started looking we have seen 55 cases mainly in Cornwall, but also Devon, and some patients have died as a result."

It is believed a large proportion of Hepatitis E cases in the UK are caused by contact with pigs and products from pigs. Dr Dalton said: "Hepatitis E can be transmitted through blood transfusions and contaminated shellfish but it is mainly found in pigs, and we have found it in the human food chain. We are not suggesting people should not eat pork simply that if you do make sure it is cooked thoroughly and if handling raw meat make sure you wash your hands thoroughly."

The study will look at patients with existing liver problems who have been admitted to hospital with a worsening of their existing conditions to see whether any of the new problems have been caused by exposure to the Hepatitis E virus. The aim will be to try and better understand the virus and its effects. The three teams are expecting to study around 800 people across the three sites during the two year study and they are expecting to see a 70 per cent mortality rate in patients exposed to the virus.

Dr Dalton said: "If our study shows that contact with Hepatitis E is the cause of deterioration in patients who have damaged livers, such patients may be candidates for vaccination to prevent them getting the virus in the first place. A Chinese team are in the process of developing a vaccine."

The HEV programme is the first major grant project which will be partly based at the Peninsula Medical School's new European Centre for Health and the Environment which is based at the Knowledge Spa in Truro. Dr Dalton is a Senior Lecturer at the centre. He said: "This is quite a significant piece of research funding and will sit alongside our other ongoing collaboration with teams in France, China and the USA."

Professor Michael Depledge, Interim Director of ECEHH and Chair of the Advisory Board, said: "This is an excellent achievement
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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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