In a follow-up on the first known human case of Rat hepatitis E virus (rat HEV) in the world, the South China Morning Post reports the 2nd human case in a 70-year-old Hong Kong woman.


The Department of Health confirmed that the second patient was a retiree with underlying illnesses and a suppressed immune system.

Both patients lived in Wong Tai Sin district and were infected last year.

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Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said hours after the news broke that she was very concerned about the emergence of the second case. A local expert involved in the investigation said it was not linked to the first infection despite both patients living in the same district (<2 miles apart).

“Based on the available epidemiological information, the source and the route of infection could not be determined,” a spokesman for the department said.

About 1 per cent of rats carry the hepatitis E virus, according to studies in neighbouring cities, Dr Siddharth Sridhar, clinical assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong’s department of microbiology, said.