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BMC Gastroenterol. 2004 Feb 6;4:3.

Primary care physicians' approach to diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis B and hepatitis C patients.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Ondokuz Mayis University School of Medicine, Samsun, Turkey.



Infections caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are considered to be important health problems worldwide. The purpose of this study was to measure the general practitioners (GPs)' basic knowledge on HBV and HCV risk factors in determining their practice about this subject.


A cross-sectional type questionnaire survey was carried out at all of 32 primary healthcare centers (PHCCs) in Samsun, Turkey, between March 1 and April 31, 2002. The questionnaires were sent to 160 GPs and 129 (80.6%) of them answered the questionnaires. Knowledge, role responsibility, self-efficacy and attitudes and beliefs regarding to viral hepatitis B and hepatitis C were asked.


Most of the GPs had adequate knowledge about transmission of HBV and HCV and also about risk factors for transmission of viruses. Most of the GPs (83.7%) were aware of recommendations for approach to a baby, born from HBsAg positive mother. They have limited facilities in diagnosis of viral hepatitis. Of the participants, 108 (83.7%) expressed that they could not diagnose HBV infections and 126 (97.7%) of them stated that they could not make the diagnoses of HCV infection in their local healthcare centers. The knowledge about treatment of chronic viral hepatitis B (21.8%) and C patients (17.8%) with elevated ALT is not sufficient.


GPs' knowledge about risks of viral hepatitis was adequate in this study. They were not able to diagnose and follow up of these infections at PHCCs because of limited knowledge about chronic viral hepatitis and diagnostic facilities. GPs should be informed about current advice in diagnosis and treatment of chronic of HBV and HCV infections.

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