Hepatitis E virus infection: Epidemiology and treatment implications.
Lee GY., Poovorawan K., Intharasongkroh D., Sa-Nguanmoo P., Vongpunsawad S., Chirathaworn C., Poovorawan Y.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection is now established as an emerging enteric viral hepatitis. Standard treatments in acute and chronic hepatitis E remain to be established. This study undertakes a review of the epidemiology, treatment implication and vaccine prevention from published literature. HEV infection is a worldwide public health problem and can cause acute and chronic hepatitis E. HEV genotypes 1 and 2 are primarily found in developing countries due to waterborne transmission, while the zoonotic potential of genotypes 3 and 4 affects mostly industrialized countries. An awareness of HEV transmission through blood donation, especially in the immunocompromised and solid organ transplant patients, merits an effective anti-viral therapy. There are currently no clear indications for the treatment of acute hepatitis E. Despite concerns for side effects, ribavirin monotherapy or in combination with pegylated interferon alpha for at least 3 mo appeared to show significant efficacy in the treatment of chronic hepatitis E. However, there are no available treatment options for specific patient population groups, such as women who are pregnant. Vaccination and screening of HEV in blood donors are currently a global priority in managing infection. New strategies for the treatment and control of hepatitis E are required for both acute and chronic infections, such as prophylactic use of medications, controlling large outbreaks, and finding acceptable antiviral therapy for pregnant women and other patient groups for whom the current options of treatment are not viable.