Hepatitis B and C

Hepatitis B virus infects the liver of hominoidae, including humans, and causes an inflammation called hepatitis. It is a DNA virus and one of many unrelated viruses that cause viral hepatitis. The disease, originally known as "serum hepatitis", has caused epidemics in parts of Asia and Africa, and it is endemic in China. About a third of the world's population, more than 2 billion people, have been infected with the hepatitis B virus. This includes 350 million chronic carriers of the virus. The acute illness causes liver inflammation, vomiting, jaundice and—rarely—death. Chronic hepatitis B may eventually cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer—a fatal disease with very poor response to current chemotherapy.The infection is preventable by vaccination.


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Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infectious disease that is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), affecting the liver. The infection is often asymptomatic, but once established, chronic infection can cause inflammation of the liver (chronic hepatitis). This condition can progress to scarring of the liver (fibrosis), and advanced scarring (cirrhosis). In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop liver failure or other complications of cirrhosis, including liver cancer.

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread by blood-to-blood contact. No vaccine against hepatitis C is available. The symptoms of infection can be medically managed, and a proportion of patients can be cleared of the virus by a course of anti-viral medicines. Although early medical intervention is helpful, people with HCV infection can experience mild symptoms, and consequently do not seek treatment. An estimated 150-200 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C.

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