The European Association for the Study of the Liver released a new clinical practice guideline for hepatitis E, specifically focused on genotype 3 and 4, which EASL recently published in Journal of Hepatology.

“Infection with hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, representing an important global health problem,” Harry R. Dalton, MD,from the University of Exeter, United Kingdom, and colleagues wrote. “Our understanding of HEV has changed completely over the past decade. Previously, HEV was thought to be limited to certain developing countries. We now know that HEV is endemic in most high-income countries and is largely a zoonotic infection.”

According to Dalton and colleagues, expert estimated that the global burden of HEV was at 20 million infections in 2005, but this estimate only included infections in a limited number of developing counties in which genotypes 1 and 2 are predominate and the seroprevalence data collected demonstrated poor sensitivity.

Recent studies have shown ‘hot-spots’ of HEV throughout Europe, including locations in France, the Netherlands, Scotland, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and Italy.

Regarding prevention, the researchers advise that consumption of undercooked meat from pigs, wild boar and deer have been identified as risk factors for HEV infection in Europe. Patient-to-patient transmission is poorly defined and requires further study.

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