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Original Content

Hepatitis E; A viral outbreak

Prevention is always better than cure!

Hepatitis E; A viral outbreak

Understanding "hepatitis"

Hepatitis is simply the inflammation of the liver which is primarily caused by Hepatitis virus which may be an RNA or a DNA virus depending on the type of disease.

Types of hepatitis

Hepatitis A

Caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) which is normally transmitted by the contaminated food or the faeces of a person infected from HAV.

Hepatitis B

Transmitted through contact with infectious body fluids, such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen, containing the hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Hepatitis C

A most dangerous type, virus (HCV) is transmitted directly through body fluids as well as used syringes and razors etc.

Hepatitis D

The rare form of hepatitis usually occurs concurrently with the hepatitis B infection.

Hepatitis E

A waterborne disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs due to poor sanitation system and particularly by ingesting the contaminated water which is having HEV in it.


THE HEPATITIS-E OUTBREAK

Every year, there are an estimated 20 million HEV infections worldwide, leading to an estimated 3.3 million symptomatic cases of hepatitis E although found worldwide, the prevalence is highest in East and South Asia.


TRANSMISSION

As mentioned before, the reason for its transmission is the faecal-oral route due to the faecal contamination of the drinking water owing to the improper sanitation system. Other routes may include:

• ingestion of undercooked meat or meat products derived from infected animals;

• transfusion of infected blood products

• Transmission from a pregnant woman to her fetus.

SYMPTOMS

It takes about 2-10 weeks for the virus to incubate, replicate and show the symptoms which include:

Initial Phase: mild fever, rash on the skin, reduced appetite, abdominal  pain or vomiting

Moderate Phase: jaundice with yellow urine and pale stools

Advanced Phase: "hepatomegaly" which is described as the enlargement of the liver than its original size.

TREATMENT

It is a self-limiting disease and does not require any sort of treatment.

PREVENTION

At Population Level

Transmission of HEV and hepatitis E disease can be reduced by:

1. maintaining quality standards for public water supplies

2. Establishing proper disposal systems for human faeces

On an Individual Level

1. maintaining hygienic practices such as hand-washing with safe water, particularly before handling food

2. avoiding consumption of water and/or ice of unknown purity

3. adhering to WHO safe food practices.

RECOMMENDATIONS

We should take a few steps and precautions to save our own selves from this deadly disease like drinking pure and clean water after boiling and using the water from a trusted source. 

Image source: www.noticiasdel6.com

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