Rachael Rettner

A new strain of the hepatitis E virus that usually only infects rats is now sickening people in Hong Kong, with nearly a dozen human cases reported so far, according to news reports. But exactly how the virus jumps from rats to people is a mystery.

The first case of a human contracting rat hepatitis E virus, or rat HEV, was reported in Hong Kong in 2018. Since then, 10 more people in the area have tested positive for rat HEV, according to CNN. The most recent case was reported on April 30, in a 61-year-old man who was hospitalized with abnormal liver function, CNN reported.

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