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7th December, 20202 min read

Hepatitis E

Medical reviewer:Dr Ann Nainan
Author:Dr Lauretta Ihonor
Last reviewed: 01/12/2020
Medically reviewed

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In this article

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Hepatitis E is inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis E virus. It’s often caused by eating or drinking something that’s been contaminated by the virus, like raw or undercooked pork. It can also be caught if you come into contact with animals that have the virus.

Symptoms of hepatitis E

If you have hepatitis E, you may develop symptoms including:

  • feeling generally unwell
  • loss of appetite
  • feeling sick and being sick
  • tummy pain
  • fever
  • yellowing of your skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

It’s also possible to have no symptoms (or mild symptoms) when you have hepatitis E.

How is hepatitis E diagnosed?

You’ll usually need blood tests to check how well your liver is working and also to check the exact virus causing liver inflammation. Sometimes, a doctor may also send a small sample of your poo to be checked for the hepatitis E virus.

What is the treatment for hepatitis E?

Hepatitis E usually gets better on its own without any treatment. But it can be serious in some people, so you should see a doctor if you think you have it.

You can help your recovery by not drinking alcohol until you’re better. Drinking alcohol can put extra strain on your liver.

You can help reduce your risk of getting hepatitis E by practising good hygiene when travelling to places where hepatitis E is common. This includes not drinking water that you aren’t sure is safe to drink, and not eating raw shellfish, fruits and vegetables.

You should also avoid eating raw and undercooked pork, boar and other wild animal meats when travelling to Europe.

References

  1. Hepatitis E - Liver and Gallbladder Disorders - MSD Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. MSD Manual Consumer Version. 2020 [cited 3 December 2020]. Available here.
  2. UpToDate [Internet]. Uptodate.com. 2020 [cited 3 December 2020]. Available here.
  3. Hepatitis [Internet]. nhs.uk. 2020 [cited 3 December 2020]. Available here.
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