Hepatitis E is an illness of the liver caused by the hepatitis E virus, a virus which can infect both animals and humans.
Hepatitis E occurs in all parts of the world especially where sanitation may be poor including Asia, Africa and Central America. However, hepatitis E infection can also be acquired in this country. The number of confirmed hepatitis E cases in the UK have increased significantly over the past few years.
Main Clinical Features
Hepatitis E infection usually produces a mild disease. However, disease symptoms can vary from no apparent symptoms to liver failure.
The symptoms of hepatitis E can include
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Darkening of the urine and pale stools
Sometimes symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
The average incubation period is 40 days (range 15 to 60 days), however not everyone will develop symptoms
To increase understanding of the epidemiology of hepatitis E infection an enhanced surveillance system was introduced in April 2016 for a period of 12 months