New Delhi: In one of the widest single-centre studies conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here, it was found that water-borne Hepatitis E was the basic cause of acute liver failure in nearly 60 percent of pregnant women.Hepatitis E, a preventable disease, is transmitted mainly through contaminated drinking water and can lead to death by triggering acute liver failure. Post failure, the liver is not able to remove toxic substances in the blood.The two-decade study closely examined over 1,000 consecutive patients admitted at AIIMS from Jan 1986 to Dec 2006. It compared the progression of Hepatitis E in pregnant women, non-pregnant women and men in the age group 15-45 years."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," S.K. Acharya, head of department of a gastroenterology at AIIMS, said."Among men, only 23 percent were affected by liver failure caused by Hepatitis E," said Acharya, who is also the co-author of the study.Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. In the study, 249 pregnant women were compared with 341 non-pregnant females and 425 males.
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