A new virus transmissible to humans is causing trouble in Hong Kong where a dozen people have tested positive for hepatitis E, caused by a virus from the rat. WHO has been warned of the existence of this virus in humans. Health authorities fear a new epidemic, estimating that several hundred people could be infected. WHO has been notified so that the existence of this virus is communicated to all countries. A new strain of hepatitis E from rats has been gaining ground in recent months in Hong Kong. While it has already resulted in the hospitalization of dozens of people, a report has been sent to WHO. A new strain of rat-transmitted hepatitis E, a disease also known as rat HEV, was discovered a few months ago in Hong Kong. A dozen people having tested positive, doctors do not exclude the existence of hundreds of others. The most recent case, diagnosed on April 30, is a 61-year-old man with abnormal liver function. The very first case was discovered in 2018, in a 56-year-old man who had had a liver transplant and had abnormal liver functions with no obvious cause. Tests established that his immune system responded to hepatitis E, but could not identify the human strain in his blood. Hepatitis E is a liver disease that causes fever, jaundice, and an enlarged organ. The virus comes in four species, only one of which has been known to infect humans. After improving the tests, the researchers discovered hepatitis E in rats in this man. « What is worrying is that this virus can pass from animals to humans. This infection was so unusual and unprecedented that the team wondered if it was a one-time incident, or a patient who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, « said microbiologist Siddharth Sridhar, one of the researchers behind the discovery. Specialists have sent WHO a report to alert all countries and help them prepare for a new epidemic.