Testing for hepatitis E exposure and active infection has improved substantially in recent years. Polymerase chain reaction (pcr) analysis for hev genomes in serum, stool and liver tissue has supplanted evaluation of the stool by electron microscopy as the definitive test for active infection. Unfortunately, the availability of this test is limited to research facilities. Serological tests for antibodies to recombinant hev proteins are available at specialized centers and are being used to clarify the epidemiological and clinical features of hev.
Both the enzyme immunoassay (sensitivity 78 to 100%) and immunoblot (sensitivity 85 to 100%) tests are sensitive for acute icteric hev. Immunoglobulin (Ig) Mtitires rise early and can be sustained for over six months. The duration of the IgG response remains in question. Some studies suggest that IgG reactivity diminishes within a year of infection. The specificity of these antibody tests is uncertain. False positive serological tests can occur in other forms of liver disease. This makes interpretation of hev prevalence data from developed countries difficult. No large scale study has compared antibody reactivity with pcr analysis for hev genomes in cases of suspected hev. Learn how to save money – buy antibiotics online here to enjoy your shopping and your treatment.
The inability to culture wild-type or attenuated hev virus has impeded development of a vaccine. Recent results using recombinant proteins in experimental animals are promising. Immunoglobulin prophylaxis has yet to prove effective. Adequate hygiene and avoidance of contaminated water sources are the only preventive measures available.