Hepatitis E, also known as Enteric non-A, non-B is a virus that attacks the liver and causes inflammation of the liver.
Hepatitis E virus is transmitted by contaminated stool (poop). Infected persons excrete the virus in their stools. The virus is spread by coming in contact with contaminated food and water. When people come in contact with infected stool and do not wash their hands properly with soap and water they can become infected.
The virus is easily spread in areas that have poor sanitation or poor personal hygiene. In the United States hepatitis E virus is relatively uncommon because the water and sewage treatment facilities in this country are effective in killing any hepatitis E virus that may enter the water supply. However, many countries in the world do not have effective facilities to kill the virus and they have many people with hepatitis E virus infection.
The symptoms of hepatitis E virus infection are similar to the symptoms of hepatitis A virus infection. Symptoms can include: low-grade fever, lack of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, dark-colored urine, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), and feeling of sickness and tiredness.
There is no licensed therapy for the treatment of hepatitis E virus infection. Most people who experience hepatitis E virus infection have a short-term infection (acute) with no long term complications. People who are infected do not develop chronic hepatitis E virus infection. Women who are pregnant should be extra careful not to contract the virus as this can cause very serious problems.
It is important to always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing and eating food. Good personal hygiene and proper sanitation help prevent the spread of the virus. There is no vaccine to prevent transmission of hepatitis E virus infection.