​Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E (HEV) is a disease that causes infection of the liver. Although the disease is usually self-contained, it may lead to the development of fulminant hepatitis (acute liver failure). The HEV contaminant is transmitted through the faecal-oral route, and is therefore predominantly contracted through contaminated food or water. Unlike other forms of hepatitis, HEV does not develop into a chronic disease, and most people who contract it recover within a few months. ​

HEV is usually asymptomatic and therefore often difficult to recognize on the basis of symptoms. However, you may start to notice some symptoms around two to eight weeks after you have contracted the disease. The possible symptoms are similar to those of hepatitis A, and include:

  • Decreased appetite 

  • Weight loss 

  • Fever 

  • Nausea 

  • Vomiting

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or joint pain 

  • Diarrhoea 

  • Jaundice: symptoms of which include yellow eyes and skin, and darker urine

  • Pain in your abdomen, particularly in the vicinity of your liver on your right side below your lower ribs 

​These symptoms are usually short-lived and are usually gone within two months.  ​​

You should visit your doctor working with the Internal Medicine Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital if you notice any of the symptoms associated to hepatitis E. If you think you may be at risk at contracting HEV, for example, due to recent travels, you doctor can provide treatment and give you advice on how to cope with the symptoms during recovery. You can also seek medical advice from doctors working with the Family Health Services to try and inhibit the virus from progressing.​​​​
Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.​
It is often challenging to distinguish HEV from the other types of hepatitis. Your doctor will therefore ask more about your symptoms and your medical history. Your doctor will also ask questions about your recent activities, such as about you recent travels and what you have eaten. He or she will then conduct a physical examination, followed by some more clinical and lab tests. Blood tests will help to identify and diagnose HEV (by revealing certain antibodies, HEV antibodies). 

Disclaimer: Kindly consult your physician before getting the above-mentioned tests.

Hepatitis E is usually a self-limiting disease, meaning that most people usually recover spontaneously after it has run its course. However, treatment is available as a supportive measure. Some steps that can be taken to promote recovery are:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. 

  • Eating well, with a healthy and nutritional mix of foods.

  • Taking it easy and slowing down on daily activities to conserve energy.

If you are experiencing extreme symptoms or are pregnant, and suspected of having HEV, you should visit your doctor about treatment or hospitalization options.​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.