Clinical presentation of hepatitis E.Virus Res. 2011 Oct; 161(1):15-22.VR
Hepatitis E is a form of acute hepatitis, which is caused by infection with hepatitis E virus. The infection is transmitted primarily through fecal-oral route and the disease is highly endemic in several developing countries with opportunities for contamination of drinking water. In these areas with high endemicity, it occurs as outbreaks and as sporadic cases of acute hepatitis. The illness often resembles that associated with other hepatotropic viruses and is usually self-limiting; in some cases, the disease progresses to acute liver failure. The infection is particularly severe in pregnant women. Patients with chronic liver disease and superimposed HEV infection can present with severe liver injury, the so-called acute-on-chronic liver failure. In recent years, occasional sporadic cases with locally acquired hepatitis E have been reported from several developed countries in Europe, United States, and Asia. In these areas, in addition to acute hepatitis similar to that seen in highly endemic areas, chronic hepatitis E has been reported among immunosuppressed persons, in particular solid organ transplant recipients. HEV-infected mothers can transmit the infection to foetus, leading to premature birth, increased fetal loss and hypoglycaemia, hypothermia, and anicteric or icteric acute hepatitis in the newborns. Occasional cases with atypical non-hepatic manifestations, such as acute pancreatitis, hematological abnormalities, autoimmune phenomena, and neurological syndromes have been reported from both hyperendemic and non-endemic regions. The pathogenesis of these manifestations remains unclear.