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Category: Liver Diseases
Hepatitis E, which was not even identified as a separate human strain of hepatitis until 1980, has been considered to be very rare in the U.S. However, a recent study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that the disease may be far more common in the population than had been previously suspected.
Appearing in the July issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, the study used data collected as part of the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and ran hepatitis E tests on the blood samples to look for the presence of hepatitis E antibodies. The researchers found that 21 percent of the U.S. population between 1988 and 1994 had been exposed to hepatitis E.
The disease is considered common in many developing countries with a hot climate, such as Southeast Asia, northern and central Africa, India, and Central America. It is usually non-fatal, although can be dangerous to pregnant women, especially in the third trimester. Unlike some other forms of hepatitis virus, it does not result in chronic infection.
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