Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is globally distributed, transmitted enterically and between humans and animals. Phylogenetic analysis has identified five distinct HEV genotypes. The first full-length sequence of an African strain (Chad) is presented and compared to 31 complete HEV genomes available, including the fulminant hepatitis strain from India, swine strains and a strain from Morocco. The two African strains are more closely related to genotype 1 than to any other genotypes and together they possibly form a sub-genotype or sixth genotype. The first evidence for recombination between divergent HEV strains is presented.