Hepatitis E Virus Infection


  • Sevin Kırdar

Viral Hepat J 2012;18(1):1-5

Hepatitis E is caused by the hepatitis E virus, a small, nonenvoleped virus with a single-stranded RNA genome. HEV is classified in genus Hepevirus in family Hepeviridae and is spherical and approximetly 27 nm to 34 nm in diameter. HEV is responsible for major outbreaks of acute hepatitis in developing countries, especially in many parts of Africa, Asia and South of America. There are four genotypes (genotypes 1-4) in mammalian species, but only one serotype. Genotypes 1 and 2 infect humans, whereas genotypes 3 and 4 also infects pigs and several other animal species. The transmission is fecal-oral, usually through contaminated drinking water. The disease often affects young adults and is particularly severe among pregnant women and persons with liver disease. Spesific etiologic diagnosis among infected cases can be made by serological testing or detection of viral nucleic acid by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Although there are vaccine candiadates that had been shown to be safe and efficacious in clinical trials, none are approved currently for use. There is no spesific therapy for acute hepatitis E as treatment remains supportive.

Keywords: Hepatitis E virus, fecal-oral route, zoonotic transmission

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