WANTED: Hepatitis E

Pathogen: Hepatitis E virus (HEV)

William Manzi

Honors Bio II


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Mug Shot

  • Five-fold symmetry
  • Three-fold symmetry
  • Two-fold symmetry
  • The viral particles are 27 to 34 nanometers in diameter, are non-enveloped
  • Single-strand of positive-sense RNA that is approximately 7300 bases in length
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  • Rapidly infects liver cells
  • Four genotypes of HEV, each displaying different characteristics, and depending on geographical location
  • Transmitted through food or water contaminated by the feces of infected people (genotypes 1 and 2)
  • Food-borne infection, by eating raw meat and infected animal organs (genotypes 3 and 4)


  • Humans are the natural host of Hepatitis E; however, antibodies of HEV and related viruses have been found in other animal species
  • Most commonly occurs among adolescents and young adults
  • Cases due to HEV genotype 3 affect men over the age of 40


  • Hepatitis E is relatively harmless in terms of long-term damage, but could result in liver failure in extreme cases

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  • HEV is found in the liver, where it infects liver cells
  • Most commonly found in under-developed or developing countries with a lack of environmental sanitation and an inadequate water supply
  • Large epidemics in: Asia, Middle East, Africa, Central America


  • Mortality rate (during outbreaks): Approximately 1%
  • Having good sanitation and avoiding unpurified water
  • No vaccine available in US; vaccine recently approved in China
  • Resolves on its own in almost all cases