HEV causes acute sporadic and epidemic viral hepatitis. Symptomatic HEV infection is most common in adults aged 15-40 years. Occasionally, a severe form of hepatitis develops, with mortality rates ranging between 0.5% - 4.0% of the overall population. This severe form of hepatitis may reach a mortality rate of 20% during pregnancy in the 3rd trimester.
Recent seroprevalence studies indicate high prevalence of HEV infection among healthy populations in some industrial countries with historically low occurrence of Hepatitis E including the US, Japan and Europe.
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