Uncooked and undercooked pork is notorious for harboring a number of infectious agents that can sicken people. Two countries in Europe are warning of two different infectious microorganisms being found in pork products there.
In Sweden, a study by a local newspaper and the National Veterinary Institute revealed that pork products from Denmark and Germany, sold in Swedish supermarkets, contained the antibiotic resistant bacterium, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
“It is just a matter of time before Swedish pigs get the bacteria and there is no plan of action,” Björn Bengtsson of the National Veterinary Institute told Dagens Nyheter.
Despite the findings, experts conceded that the prospects of being infected through the pork were small.
“It’s unlikely that you would become infected through meat but it is unpleasant to know that there are resistant bacteria in the food that you buy,” Olov Aspevall, chief physician of the Swedish Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) told the newspaper.
Health officials in the United Kingdom warn of the risk of the virus, hepatitis E, in uncooked pork. BBC news reports that one in 10 sausages and processed pork meat products in England and Wales could cause hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection if undercooked. Experts warn that the numbers should be looked at with caution due to a small samples size.
Official government figures show there were 124 confirmed cases of HEV in 2003, which rose to 691 cases in 2013. There were 461 cases in the first six months of this year, prompting officials to advise the public to cook sausage for 20 minutes at 70C to kill the virus.
The clinical course of hepatitis E is similar to that of hepatitis A with no chronic form of the disease. Jaundice, fever, loss of appetite and lethargy are common symptoms.
Much like hepatitis A, the fatality rate is low with the exception of pregnant women where it can reach 20% among those infected in the third trimester. Liver failure is a frequent outcome with pregnant women.
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