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Indexed/Abstracted in: CAB, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
Online ISSN 1827-1642
Krawczynski K., Mast E. E., Purdy M. A. Rizzetto M.
Hepatitis E is an enterically transmitted, acute, self-limited, icteric viral disease that occurs in large numbers in countries of the Indian subcontinent, Asia, and Africa. The frequency of epidemics and the high mortality rate among infected pregnant women are strong indicators that hepatitis E is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in humans. Several isolates of hepatitis E virus (HEV) derived from infected humans and experimental animals have recently been cloned and sequenced, allowing investigators to determine the molecular structure of the HEV genome. Laboratory diagnosis of HEV infection is done by detection of HEV andibodies, HEV RNA in stool and serum samples, HEV particles in stool specimens, and HEV antigen in hepatocytes and stool specimens. The detection of anti-HEV by enzyme immunoassay, with the use of several recombinant HEV proteins or synthetic peptides, is the most frequently applied method for the diagnosis of the infection and characterization of its epidemiologic features. Laboratory determination of HEV replication, immune response, and liver pathologic features in patients with hepatitis E and in infected primates has facilitated studies of the disease. Preventive measures against HEV infection include the passive transfer of protective antibodies or active immunization. In efforts to develop HEV vaccines, various recombinant proteins have been used. Although a range of protective immune responses have been induced in primates, further modifications of immunogen, adjuvant, and immunization schedules are necessary to prevent HEV infection. Much remains to be learned about epidemiology of HEV infection, reservoir(s) of the virus, and protective immunity in order to develop effective strategies to prevent hepatitis E.