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What is Hepatitis E (HEV)?
Hepatitis E is caused by infection with the hepatitis E virus. Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease, and contaminated water or food supplies have been cause of major outbreaks (large number of infected people). Hepatitis E infections have been found in much of Central and South-East Asia, North and West Africa, and in Mexico. These are areas where fecal contamination of drinking water is common.
How is Hepatitis E spread?
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis E?
After becoming infected, symptoms may show between 3 to 8 weeks. Symptoms are most common in young adults aged 15-40 years and uncommon in children.
Are there complications from Hepatitis E?
Hepatitis E is a mild to moderate disease in severity except in pregnant women. Their rate of dying from infection increases with each trimester and may reach 20%. Children infected with both hepatitis E and hepatitis may have a more severe form of the disease, including acute liver failure.
How do I know if I have Hepatitis E?
See your doctor who may ask for a urine sample to examine liver function and/or a stool sample to examine for the presence of the virus.
How is Hepatitis E treated?
Hepatitis E is a viral disease therefore antibiotics will not be helpful. Infected people will most often recover on their own over several weeks to months. Hospitalization is generally not required. Prevention is the most effective approach against the disease.
Is there a vaccine for Hepatitis E?
How can Hepatitis E be prevented?
If you are traveling to an area where hepatitis E is common, follow these precautions: