Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) Fact Sheet
(adapted from materials developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
On this page:
Report to Minnesota Department of Health
Signs and Symptoms
Treatment and Medical Management
Trends and Statistics
- Tests for the hepatitis E virus (HEV) are not yet FDA approved; however, these tests can be accessed through referral for patients with clinical symptoms of viral hepatitis when other viral etiologies (HAV, HBV, HCV, HDV, CMV, EBV) have been ruled out.
- Diagnosis of HEV would be more likely in persons with a history of travel to endemic regions outside the U.S.
- Contact the Minnesota Department of Health if you suspect a case of HEV by any of the following methods:
- Phone: 651-201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414 (toll free)
- Fax: 651-201-5501
- Mail: Minnesota Department of Health Disease Report Card, P.O. Box 64975, St. Paul, MN 55164-0975
- HEV is a spherical, non-enveloped, positive-strand RNA virus.
- Persons with HEV infection may be asymptomatic.
- Symptoms are those associated with other types of viral hepatitis: jaundice, malaise, anorexia, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and arthralgia.
- Symptom severity increases with age.
- High case-fatality rate among pregnant women
- Incubation period is typically 40 days (range: 15 to 60 days)
- There is no known chronic (long-term) infection.
- Fecal-oral route by either:
- ingestion of contaminated food or water, or
- person-to-person contact (less common)
- The period of communicability after acute infection is unknown, but fecal shedding of the virus and viremia commonly occur for at least two weeks.
- Travelers to parts of Asia, Africa, and Mexico (not endemic in the U.S.)
- More common among adults than children
- Travelers to HEV-endemic regions should avoid drinking water (and beverages with ice) of unknown purity, uncooked shellfish, and unpeeled fruit and vegetables not prepared by traveler.
- Vaccine is not yet available.
- Supportive care
- None; immune globulin (IG) prepared in the United States does not prevent HEV infection.
- HEV is rarely reported in the United States and most reported cases have occurred among travelers to endemic regions.
- Rarely, a “U.S. strain” of HEV has been reported among persons with no recent history of travel outside of the United States.
- CDC website on HEV (Attention: Non-MDH link)
- Pickering L, eds. “Red Book 2000 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 25th ed.” 2000, American Academy of Pediatrics.