How to Prevent and Control Hepatitis E?

Definition of Hepatitis E Virus:

Hepatitis E is the viral hepatitis caused by hepatitis E virus.

Epidemiology of Hepatitis E:

Hepatitis E should be suspected in outbreaks of waterborne hepatitis occurring in developing countries like Bangladesh, especially if the disease is more severe in pregnant women.

Hepatitis E
Fig: Hepatitis E

Incidence and Risk Factors of Hepatitis E:

Symptomatic hepatitis E infection is most common in young adults.

Incubation period: 3- 8 weeks

Mode of Transmission of Hepatitis E: Faeco oral and water borne.

Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis E:

May be asymptomatic or mild illness without jaundice that goes undiagnosed, particularly in children, typical sign and symptoms are –

  • Jaundice,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • An enlarged, tender liver,
  • Abdominal pain and tenderness,
  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • Fever.

Investigation of Hepatitis E:

  • Anti HAV,
  • Serum bilirubin,
  • SGPT and SGOT.

Treatment of Hepatitis E:

There is no specific treatment for HAV. The disease is self-limiting and returns to normal within a couple of months. Only severely affected patients need hospitalization. General plan of treatment are –

  1. Protein restricted and no spicy foods.
  2. Light diet supplemented by fruits, plenty of fluids, ORS, dab water and glucose drinks.
  • If severe vomiting: IV fluid and anti-emetic.
  • Drugs: Sedatives, hypnotics, and diuretics, are usually avoided. It diuretics are to be used potassium sparing diuretics should be used.
  • Clinical and biochemical follow up.

How to Prevent and Control Hepatitis E Virus?

Preventive and controlling measures of HAV and HEV:

1. Proper sanitation:

  • Improving water supply,
  • Proper excreta disposal,
  • Maintenance of hygiene (personal and environmental),
  • Sanitary improvements of food stores and kitchen.

2. Health education about:

  • Use of safe drinking water and sanitary latrine,
  • Proper disposal of excreta,
  • Food handlers should be educated in matters of food hygiene,
  • Adequate breast feeding and improved weaning practices.

3. Fly control: Controlling breeding of flies in association with faeces and dirty water.

4. Timely control of epidemics: By strengthening of epidemiological surveillance systems.

5. Vaccination: Vaccine for hepatitis A is available but not for hepatitis E

6. Screening of blood donors for hepatitis A.

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