IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers| IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers|

Country Health Advice Kenya

General Health Risks: Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E is highly endemic in Kenya.

Description

Hepatitis E (HEV) is a viral infection causing inflammation of the liver. It is primarily acquired by ingesting water contaminated with fecal matter. The virus is also transmitted from person to person through the fecal-oral route as a result of poor body hygiene practices. In some regions, such as Europe and Japan, pigs, deer, and wild boars are known to be reservoirs for Hepatitis E and it can be contracted by eating raw or undercooked meat such as pig liver and venison.

Risk

The infection is present worldwide, although its prevalence varies in different regions. Travellers drinking untreated water, eating undercooked meats, or going to areas with poor sanitation are at risk.

Symptoms

Usually symptoms appear 2 to 9 weeks after exposure to the virus and include fever, fatigue, lack of appetite, abdominal pain, and jaundice. Treatment includes supportive care of symptoms.

Prevention

There is currently no commercially available preventive vaccine or medication against Hepatitis E.

  • Always drink boiled or treated water.
  • Eat well cooked meats.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water. If not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Practice good body hygiene.

Health risk description last reviewed: September 19, 2016
Country information last updated: April 25, 2017


Sources

  • Jameel S, Aggarwal R. Enteric Viral Hepatitis A and E.In: Guerrant, R; Walker D; Weller P, eds. Tropical Infectious Diseases. 3rd ed. New York: Saunders Elsevier; 2011: 420-426.
  • Jong E, McMullen R. Viral Hepatitis in Travellers and Immigrants. In: Jong E, Sanford C, eds. The Travel and Tropical Medicine Manual, 4th ed. Waltham: Saunders Elsevier; 2008: 351-369.
  • Wertheim, Heiman; Horby, Peter; Woodall, John, eds. Atlas of Human Infectious Diseases. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell; 2012. 273 p.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Hepatitis E
  • WorldHealth Organization: Hepatitis E Fact Sheet No. 280


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