British scientists warn that 10 percent of all processed pork products sold in the United Kingdom have the hepatitis E virus (HEV), International Business Times reports. A 2012 study by the U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) shows that many sausages sold in British stores contain potentially fatal hep viral loads—up to 700,000 viruses per gram of sausage. Such levels could put those with deficient livers or weakened immune systems (such as the elderly and transplant or cancer patients) at a high risk for infection; in pregnant women, the virus can cause fulminant hepatic fever. British middle-aged men were also found to be at an increased risk for infection, largely due to excessive alcohol consumption, which can weaken the liver. According to hep E experts, about 85 percent of British pigs carry HEV, but the virus is usually killed if the meat is cooked through thoroughly. Some authorities blame the U.K. Food Standards Agency and Defra for the outbreak.  

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