Review: treatment of chronic hepatitis

Paul J Gow and David Mutimer, BMJ 2001;323 1164-1167

Viral hepatitis is the major cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. An estimated 300 million people are carriers of the hepatitis B virus, and 120 million are infected with hepatitis C.

Untreated, these infections may progress to cirrhosis, liver failure, and hepatoma. Public health measures to limit new infection, including immunisation against hepatitis B and screening of blood products for HBV and HCV viruses, have now been implemented in most developed countries and are being implemented in many developing counties.

This review focuses on the treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C, which has undergone dramatic improvement in the past few years.

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