Between 1996 and 2003, 186 cases of hepatitis E were serologically diagnosed. Of these, 17 (9%) were not associated with recent travel abroad. Patients were >55 years old (range, 56-82 years old) and tended to be male (76%). Two patients presented with fulminant hepatitis. A total of 129 (69%) cases were associated with recent travel to countries where hepatitis E virus (HEV) is hyperendemic. Compared with patients with travel-associated disease, patients with non-travel-associated disease were more likely to be older, living in coastal or estuarine areas, not of South Asian ethnicity, and infected by genotype 3 strains of HEV. The genotype 3 subgenomic nucleotide sequences were unique and closely related to those from British pigs. Patients infected by HEV indigenous to England and Wales tended to belong to a distinct demographic group, there were multiple sources of infection, and pigs might have been a viral reservoir.