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:
- 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.
- 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