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.
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.
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.
There is currently no commercially available preventive vaccine or medication against Hepatitis E.
Health risk description last reviewed: September 19, 2016
Country information last updated: March 12, 2018