Health Questions and Answers

Question: What is hepatitis E?


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) causes enterically (fecal-oral) transmitted non-A, non-B hepatitis. It is endemic to Southeast and Central Asia, Africa, and Mexico but is rare in the U.S. It is also responsible for large epidemics of acute hepatitis. It is possible that zoonotic HEV infection may occur in areas where animal hosts are abundant, including pig farming areas in the U.S. This illness is particularly severe in pregnant women in whom mortality rates from acute liver failure may reach 20%.

Reference:  Sleisenger MH, Fordtran JS (eds): Gastrointestinal Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Management, 7th ed. Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders, 2003.

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