Hepatitis E Causes Liver Failure in Pregnant Women

A recent survey conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) proves that the major reason behind the acute liver failure in 60% pregnant women is water borne Hepatitis E. During the study, the medical history of 1,000 patients admitted at AIIMS from January 1986 to December 2006 was thoroughly reviewed following that the progression of Hepatitis E in pregnant women, non pregnant women and men from 15-45 years of age group was compared.

“We found that Hepatitis E was the causative agent of acute liver failure in among 60 percent of pregnant women and girls. However, the virus caused acute liver failure in only 30 percent non-pregnant females. Among men, only 23 percent were affected by liver failure caused by Hepatitis E,” said S.K. Acharya, head of department of a gastroenterology, AIIMS hospital.

Around 249 pregnant women were compared to 425 males and 341 non-pregnant females during the study which resulted in more vulnerability of pregnant women to Hepatitis E. “There is a general liver insufficiency or weakness during pregnancy. So, Hepatitis E virus has a higher attack rate and progression in pregnant women,” Acharya explained.

As per World Health Organization (WHO), around 5 million people in Southeast Asian countries such as India, China and other nations will become more prone to death due to viral Hepatitis during next 10 years. “Although pregnancy does not grant increased susceptibility to Hepatitis A, B, and C viruses, pregnant women may be more vulnerable to infection by Hepatitis E virus,” states WHO statistics.

Hepatitis is basically a soreness of the liver caused by viral infection. It has five major types- A, B, C, D and E. Besides viral infection, alcohol, chemicals, drugs, fatty liver and autoimmune disease can also cause Hepatitis. Although the causes of Hepatitis are very much preventable, China has already produced the vaccination to cure Hepatitis E.

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