Infectious Diseases

Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E is an inflammatory disease of the liver, it occurs after infection with the virus (hepatitis E virus) that causes the disease. HEV is a common cause of hepatitis outbreaks in many under-developed countries, and it is transmitted through food and/or water contaminated with faeces.

Hepatitis E has many similarities with hepatitis A and has been associated with chronic hepatitis in solid organ transplant recipient and patients infected with HIV.

The route of exposure to hepatitis E is unknown but it is generally attributed to travels to endemic areas such as China, Nepal, India, Southwest France, North Africa countries and Borneo.

The global disease burden of hepatitis E has been reported to be at least twenty (20) million cases per year with 70,000 fatalities and 3,000 stillbirths. Hepatitis E has world wide distribution but predominating factors like tropical climates, inadequate sanitation and poor personal hygiene has made it found most in developing countries than developed countries.


Hepatitis E is more common in parts of the world with poor sanitary conditions. The hepatitis E virus spreads through feces. You can get the virus if you drink or eat something that has been in contact with the stool of someone who has the virus and lack of clean water. You also can get hepatitis E if you eat undercooked meat from infected animals or seafoods


Symptoms of hepatitis E usually take days to weeks before they show, these symptoms include;

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain
  • Joint pains
  • Muscle pains
  • Dark colored urine


The diagnosis of hepatitis E includes medical history if presenting symptoms as well as recent travels to endemic areas.

Blood test and stool test are available for diagnosing hepatitis E.


Hepatitis E does not require any medication for treatment. It goes away on its own in about four to six weeks. Home remedies like rest, eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol can help improve symptoms even faster.


Hepatitis E can be prevented by good sanitation and proper dispensing of waste, proper personal hygiene, eating good foods and drinking clean waters, vaccines against the HEV are not widely available, travelers to areas where hepatitis E is common are advised to avoid the following;

  • Eating foods that have not been cooked such as, vegetables, meat and seafoods (shellfish)
  • Drinking unpasteurized milk
  • Drinking tap water
  • Ice cubes in drinks
  • Using tap water in cleaning your teeth