For many years, hepatitis E was considered a disease found only in certain developing countries. In these geographical settings, hepatitis E virus (HEV) causes a self-limiting hepatitis in young adults, except in pregnant females, in whom the mortality is 25 %. Our understanding of HEV has changed radically in the past decade. It is now evident that HEV is a threat to global health. This review article considers the current concepts and future perspectives of HEV and its effects on human health, with particular reference to developed countries.