World's 1st human case of rat hepatitis found in Hong Kong
A 56-year-old man from Hong Kong has developed the world's first human case of rat hepatitis E, Chinese scientists announced Friday.

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong discovered the case after testing showed abnormal liver function following a liver transplant. Doctors later found that he had a strain of hepatitis that was "highly divergent" from other strains found in humans, the BBC reports.

It's unclear how the man was infected with the virus, but contamination of food by infected rat droppings in the food supply is possible," the researchers said in a report.

The patient has been cured of the disease, his doctors said.

While rats are known to transmit a number of other diseases to humans, including plague, Lassa fever and leptospirosis, this is the first reported case in humans of the rat variation of hepatitis E.

The human strain of hepatitis E is typically spread through contaminated water or food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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