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Hepatitis E virus

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(virology) The virus belonging to family Hepeviridae, and may cause hepatitis E


Hepatitis is a condition characterized by liver inflammation. There are several factors that could lead to hepatitis but one of the major causes is due to infection of certain viruses. There are five major viruses causing hepatitis. They are referred to as hepatitis A virus (causing hepatitis A), hepatitis B virus (causing hepatitis B), hepatitis C virus (causing hepatitis C), hepatitis D virus (causing hepatitis D), and hepatitis E virus (causing hepatitis E).

Hepatitis E virus is a hepevirus that belongs to the family Hepeviridae. It is a non-enveloped, single-stranded, positive-sense RNA virus 27-34 nm in diameter. There is one known serotype. However, four genotypes occur and they are from different geographical regions, i.e. genotype 1 (Asia), genotype 2 (Africa and Mexico), genotype 3 (Europe and North America) and genotype 4 (Asia).1

Hepatitis E virus is transmitted through fecal-oral route, particularly by ingesting food or water contaminated with the virus.

Abbreviation / Acronym:

  • HEV

Scientific classification:

  • Family: Hepeviridae
  • Genus: Orthohepevirus
  • Species: Orthohepevirus A

See also:

1 Schlauder, G. G. & Mushahwar, I. K. (2001). Genetic heterogeneity of hepatitis E virus. J Med Virol 65, 282–92.