Is Hepatitis E Fatal?
Hepatitis E refers to a viral infection which inflicts significant damage to the liver as a result of inflammation. Inflammation is the medical term used for swelling which occurs when body tissues get infected or injured. Inflammation can cause severe damage to vital organs of the body.
Viruses infiltrate normal cells of the body. There virus which causes hepatitis E can be transmitted in various ways.
Some types are transmitted by drinking contaminated water. These types occur most frequently in developing countries, including parts of Africa, Asia, Central America and the Middle East.
Other types are transmitted by eating undercooked pork or venison. These types are more common in developed countries, such as the United States, Australia, Japan, and parts of Europe and East Asia.
Hepatitis E typically causes an acute, that is, short-term infection.
Acute Hepatitis E
Hepatitis E is a short-term infection. In most cases, the body can fight the infection and the virus disappears. Most people improve without treatment after a few weeks.
Chronic Hepatitis E
Hepatitis is a chronic infection that occurs when the body cannot fight the virus and it does not go away. Chronic hepatitis E is rare and only occurs in people with weakened immune systems. For example, hepatitis E can become chronic in people who take medicines that weaken their immune system after an organ transplant or in people who have HIV or AIDS.
Hepatitis E is more frequent in developing countries where hygienic conditions are not good and access to drinking water is limited.
The types of hepatitis E that are prevalent in developing countries generally cause serious infections, especially in pregnant women.
The types of hepatitis E that are prevalent in developed countries are often mild and do not cause symptoms. Many people do not know that they have had these types of hepatitis E.
The different types of hepatitis E usually affect different groups of people. The types of hepatitis E that are more frequent in developing countries are more likely to affect adolescents and young adults.
In contrast, the types of hepatitis E that is most common in developed countries affect mainly older men.
What Are The Complications of Hepatitis E?
Complications of Acute Hepatitis E
Majority of people infected with this condition completely recover without any type of complications whatsoever. However, there have been cases where acute hepatitis E has resulted in acute liver failure but such cases are rare. Acute liver failure due to hepatitis E is more frequent in pregnant women and people who have other liver diseases.
In pregnant women, hepatitis E can cause other complications for the mother and the baby, such as fetal death, premature delivery or low birth weight.
Complications of Chronic Hepatitis E
Chronic hepatitis E, which is rare and only occurs in people with weakened immune systems, can cause complications such as cirrhosis or liver failure.
How is Hepatitis E Treated?
Frontline Treatment for acute hepatitis E involves bed rest, consumption of fluids, and eating healthy foods for complete symptom relief.
You need to consult with your physician before taking any over-the-counter or prescriptive medication, dietary supplements, herbs or other forms of alternative medicine, or vitamins so as to prevent any damage to the liver. You should avoid alcoholic beverages until your phy7sician confirms that you have completely recovered from the infection and gives the go-ahead.
Check with your doctor regularly to make sure you have fully recovered.
Doctors can treat chronic hepatitis E with ribavirin or peginterferon alfa-2a.
How Can I Protect Myself From Hepatitis E Infection?
If you travel to a third world country, try and drink bottled or packaged water. You can even use this for brushing teeth, you can also make ice cubes, and even wash vegetables and fruits to prevent it from being contaminated.
Also, make sure that any venison or pork you eat is cooked well, both within and outside the country.
Hepatitis E is rarely a fatal disease. Fulminant hepatitis is an acute liver disease that occurs suddenly. It requires emergency medical intervention. The only causes of liver disease that have not been described as the cause of fulminant hepatitis are Hepatitis C and Hepatitis E viruses.
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