Hepatitis has evolved all the way to Z (HZV) and vaccines are in the works for hepatitis E (HEV) and HZV.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines hepatitis as "an inflammation of the liver most commonly caused by a viral infection," with symptoms that include "jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain."  Although hepatitis types exist from A through Z, the WHO notes there are five main types A, B, C, D and E.

On July 30, the US National Institute working on Hepatitis discovered cases of Hepatitis Z in California amongst cult members that prefer to eat raw liver, according to the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. Epidemiologists believe that eating "yellow sushi," an illegal "pate made from the raw livers of endangered fish garibaldi" led to development of HZV.

To date it is unknown if HZV can be spread via sex like "hepatitis types B, K, O, and M (the love letter hepatitides)," but it is believed that an expensive "prototype HZV vaccine" is in the works by HEP-VAXMAX. 

Meanwhile the HEV vaccine (HEV 239) is well underway with promising results showing it is 100 percent effective.

On August 23, Professor Ningshao Xia, MD, the director of the National Institute of Diagnosis and Vaccine Development in infectious diseases at ?Xiamen University in China told Relaxnews, the "license application of this vaccine is now being evaluated by Chinese SFDA [State Food and Drug Administration].

"How long the evaluation will take is uncertain, maybe several months or more than one year. After that the vaccine can be available for use by travelers and in outbreak areas in China," continued Xia.

"The phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine was funded by scientific grants from Chinese central and local government, and the development of the vaccine was funded by a vaccine company, Xiamen Innovax Biotech," explained Xia.

To avoid getting HVZ, do not eat raw liver and to ward off HEV before HEV 239 is available it is best to stay clear of contaminated food and water especially in areas where HEV outbreaks are prevalent including Central and South-East Asia, North and West Africa, and in Mexico according to the WHO.

For more information on "Hepatitis A through E and Beyond", go to: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/viralhepatitis/
Full study, "Efficacy and safety of a recombinant hepatitis E vaccine in healthy adults: a large-scale, randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial": http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(10)61030-6/abstract
"Alphabet Now Complete: NIH Discovers Hepatitis Z Virus": http://www.annals.org/content/119/2/167.full