Viral liver disease is a generic term for liver damage caused by a viral infection. Hepatitis B and C are the most common viral infections that cause liver damage. Despite the different underlying viral infections, the pathogenesis of fibrosis can be divided into two phases. The acute inflammatory stage is followed by a chronic inflammatory stage with concurrent inflammatory, tissue destruction and repair processes.
How many people have hepatitis?
The prevalence of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C varies worldwide. In 2015, an estimated 2 billion people worldwide were infected with Hepatitis B, resulting in 650,000 deaths per year. An estimated 71 million people were infected with Hepatitis C in 2015.
How is hepatitis treated?
Treatment of the underlying viral infection is best. Currently, several antiviral drugs (lamivudine, adefovir, entecavir, telbivudine, tenofovir, emtricitabine, standard and PEG-IFN) have shown to delay the progression of cirrhosis but rarely cure the viral infection. In most cases, therefore, lifelong treatment is required.
How is hepatitis diagnosed?
Diagnosis of hepatitis is based primarily on symptoms. Currently, diagnosis is based on the presence of a viral pathogen and blood tests to assess liver function. If blood tests indicate decreased liver function and advanced liver damage, further testing including imaging and liver biopsies may be required.
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