Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the causative agent of an acute and self-limiting hepatitis and is increasingly detected in food products containing pork. In this study, 102 raw sausages containing pig liver (mortadella di fegato) and 18 raw pork sausages (salami type sausage) collected at retail level in a region of southern Switzerland were screened for the presence of HEV by quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR. HEV was detected in 12 (11.8%) of 102 mortadella di fegato products but not in any of the salami sausages. Viral loads in the mortadella di fegato sausages ranged from log HEV 2.3 to 5.7 genome copies per gram of food product. This study identifies mortadella di fegato type sausages made with raw pig liver as a potential source of HEV infection in humans.

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