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What You Need To Know About Hepatitis E


What is Hepatitis E?


Hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis E virus (HEV). Usually, it doesn’t lead to long-term illness or liver damage like other forms of hepatitis. Hepatitis E virus (HEV), like HAV, is mostly transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food. It is commoner and associated with more epidemics than HAV. Hepatitis E can be dangerous for pregnant women, people who are ill, elderly or anyone with weak immune systems. The risk factors for hepatitis E are related to poor sanitation. HEV is a common cause of hepatitis outbreaks in developing parts of the world like Nigeria.



The disease is transmitted through:


  • Uncooked/undercooked pork or deer meat.
  • Raw shellfish that comes from tainted water
  • Vertical transmission from a pregnant woman to her fetus


What Symptoms Are Seen In Hepatitis E Infection?


The symptoms last from days to weeks and are similar to those of other types of acute viral hepatitis. They may include:


  • Jaundice.
  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea.
  • Mild fever.
  • Dark urine.
  • Pale stool.
  • Joint pain.

Pregnant women show more severe symptoms that may have unfavorable maternal and fetal outcomes. These may include:

  • Preterm delivery.
  • Abortion.
  • Stillbirth.
  • Intrauterine fetal death.
  • Neonatal death.

How Is Hepatitis E Diagnosed?


Hepatitis D is diagnosed after a proper consultation, examination and blood tests.


How Is Hepatitis E Treated?


In most cases, hepatitis E is self-limiting in about 4-6 weeks. However, it may be serious and possibly life threatening in some cases.  


How Is Hepatitis E Prevented?


Prevention is the most effective approach against hepatitis E. These include:


  • Maintaining quality standards for public water supplies.
  • Proper waste disposal (human faeces).
  • Maintain personal hygiene.
  • Vaccines are also available to prevent disease.
  • Avoid consumption of water of unknown source.
  • Don’t eat undercooked pork, deer meat, or raw shellfish.


Article By: Dr Leke Odufuye