Hepatitis E: An emerging infection in high income countries

J Clin Virol. 2014 Feb;59(2):81-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2013.11.013. Epub 2013 Dec 11.


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) genotype 3 is the most recently characterized hepatotropic virus and is increasingly being recognized as the cause of unexplained liver disease in many western countries. Although asymptomatic in most cases, HEV GT3 may be responsible for a wide range of illnesses, from mild to fulminant acute hepatitis, and also chronic hepatitis in immunocompromised patients. Extrahepatic manifestations have been occasionally described. Anti-HEV antibody detection by immunoassays is hampered by moderate test accuracy particularly in immunocompromised hosts while a WHO international standard for molecular detection of HEV RNA by RT-PCR has recently been introduced. This review describes the basic virology, epidemiology, clinical virology and treatment of HEV GT3 infections in high income countries.

Keywords: Genotype 3; Hepatitis E; Ribavirin, Autochthonous transmission.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology*
  • Developed Countries
  • Hepatitis E / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis E virus / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Virology / methods