Imported pork sausages and ham from leading UK supermarket 'may cause hepatitis E'
Pork products sold at a leading supermarket may have infected British shoppers with a virus that can cause liver failure and death, it has emerged.
Researchers at Public Health England (PHE) probed the shopping habits of those infected with hepatitis E and found the consumption of ham and sausages from one store was a recurring feature.
In a report published last month the government agency said the virus strain has not been detected in British pigs, and infections could be the result of eating products made outside the UK.
PHE stressed that this "does not infer blame on the supermarket" and along with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said they will not be naming the store.
Since 2010 PHE said there has been an "increase in the number of non-travel cases" of the hepatitis E virus - with figures showing infections have risen from from 368 in 2010 to 1243 in 2016.
Hepatitis E, caused by the hepatitis E virus, generally results in a mild and short-term infection unless the person has a pre-existing liver disease or is pregnant.
Symptoms of the virus can include feeling flu-like, yellowing of the skin and eyes, tiredness, fever, vomiting and loss of appetite. In rare cases it can cause liver failure and prove fatal.
In the wake of the increasing infection figures, the PHE study looked at 60 individuals with no history of travel outside the UK.