Exotic viral hepatitis: A review on epidemiology, pathogenesis, and treatment

Leanne P.M. van Leeuwen, Wesley de Jong, Laura Doornekamp, Eric C.M. van Gorp, Pieter J. Wismans, Marco Goeijenbier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Certain “exotic” viruses are known to cause clinical diseases with potential liver involvement. These include viruses, beyond regular hepatotropic viruses (hepatitis A, -B(D), -C, -E, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus), that can be found in (sub)tropical areas and can cause “exotic viral hepatitis”. Transmission routes typically involve arthropods (Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever, dengue, Rift Valley fever, yellow fever). However, some of these viruses are transmitted by the aerosolised excreta of rodents (Hantavirus, Lassa fever), or via direct contact or contact with bodily fluids (Ebola). Although some exotic viruses are associated with high fatality rates, such as Ebola for example, the clinical presentation of most exotic viruses can range from mild flu-like symptoms, in most cases, right through to being potentially fatal. A smaller percentage of people develop severe disease with haemorrhagic fever, possibly with (fulminant) hepatitis. Liver involvement is often caused by direct tropism for hepatocytes and Kupffer cells, resulting in virus-mediated and/or immune-mediated necrosis. In all exotic hepatitis viruses, PCR is the most sensitive diagnostic method. The determination of IgM/IgG antibodies is a reasonable alternative, but cross-reactivity can be a problem in the case of flaviviruses. Licenced vaccines are available for yellow fever and Ebola, and they are currently under development for dengue. Therapy for exotic viral hepatitis is predominantly supportive. To ensure that preventive measures can be introduced to control possible outbreaks, the timely detection of these viruses is very important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1431-1443
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

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