Hepatitis E

Defining Hepatitis E:

Hepatitis E is a viral infection that impacts the liver. It cannot spread from person to person. If left untreated, it can lead to acute health problems and liver failure. Unlike other hepatitis strains, Hepatitis E infections last a short while and don’t cause liver problems. Those infected recover well in a few months.

How is Hepatitis E Caused?

People get Hepatitis E from water or food that is contaminated. If water sources are contaminated by stools from an infected person or an animal, it is possible to get sick. In many cases, people have fallen sick from eating meat which is not well cooked or even by touching a pig with the infection.

Hepatitis E is not passed from one person to another. Currently, there is no evidence that it is transmitted through sex or blood transfusion. It is also unlikely for a person to get sick more than once due to the Hepatitis E virus.

Hepatitis A Hepatitis B Hepatitis C Hepatitis D Hepatitis F Hepatitis G

Symptoms to Look For:

Once a person has been exposed to the virus, it takes between 2 to 7 weeks between gestation and illness. The illness last about 8 weeks. Common symptoms to look for are:

  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Appetite loss
  • Major weight loss
  • Pain on the right side in the belly and under ribs (location of the liver)
  • Yellow eyes and skin
  • Dark urine and colorless stools
  • Fever
  • Sore muscles

Hepatitis E Virus
Source : Wikipedia

How is the Condition Diagnosed?

Doctors usually question patients about their symptoms, what they ate over the last few weeks and also where they travelled. Blood tests are usually ordered if a physician suspects Hepatitis E. Tests will indicate liver inflammation and also if the Hepatitis E virus antibodies are present in the blood.

If a pregnant woman gets Hepatitis E, it can become quite a serious condition. They have to spend time in a hospital so that they can be monitored and treated.

Hepatitis E is also a serious condition for those with pre-existing liver issues. Organ transplant recipients and those on immunosuppressive medication should be extra careful not to get the virus.

Treatment Methods for Hepatitis E

There is no particular course of treatment for Hepatitis E. Doctors recommend the following course of action for patients:

Resting : Cut back on regular activities and rest up so that the body can recover. Don’t be in a hurry to get back to your regular routine as one could relapse and get sicker.

Staying Hydrated : Drink a lot of water and fruit juices to stay hydrated. Make sure that the fruits are safe and clean. Broths and light soups are good choices as well.

Eating Well : When one is ill, there is little interest in food. May sure to eat small portions of light food so that the body can recover faster.

Abstaining from alcohol and drugs is also stressed by doctors. Doing one or both can stress the liver further and cause serious complications. Let your doctor know if you are on any medications, especially if they are herbal. Don’t take any medications without a doctor’s approval.

If you are pregnant and/or have severe symptoms, talk to a physician immediately. You may need to be hospitalized right away.

How to Prevent Hepatitis E Infections

It is quite easy to keep people safe from contracting the Hepatitis E virus. Good sanitation and making clean drinking water available to people will prevent illness. People who travel to developing countries can also be safe by drinking boiled or purified water.

If bottled water is available for use, make sure that it is from a reputable source. Boiling water or adding chlorine pills will deactivate the virus.

Make sure to avoid pork, venison and some meats helps to reduce the risk of Hepatitis E transmission. If you have to eat it, ensure that it is cooked very well.

Tests and Treatment Options

Currently, the only way to diagnose Hepatitis E is through blood tests and visible physical symptoms. There are no specific treatments or vaccines available in the US to treat this condition. Only China has a vaccine which was approved for use, recently.

Hepatitis A and E: Symptoms and Treatment