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Pediatr Int. 2004 Apr;46(2):223-30.

Molecular epidemiology of hepatitis B and C virus infections in Asia.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, Japan.


The present paper provides a review of the current literature regarding the molecular-based epidemiology of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), which are very important viruses underlying the etiology of blood-borne infectious diseases worldwide. Particularly, both HBV and HCV are widespread on the Asian continent and are associated with acute and chronic liver diseases, including hepatocellular carcinoma. HBV has been classified into genotypes A through G and shown to have a distinct geographic distribution. In Asia, genotypes B and C of HBV prevail, and genotype C has been shown to cause more serious liver disease than genotype B. High prevalence of HBV mutants with various forms, such as the pre-S mutant, basal core promoter mutant, YMDD motif mutant and vaccine escape mutant, were seen in Asia and these were found to be related to the severity of liver disease and sensitivity to therapy. HCV has also been classified into multiple genotypes and associated with geographic distribution. HCV genotype 1 is less sensitive to interferon therapy and may be associated with the presence of more serious liver disease than the other genotypes. Data on the relation among the HBV/HCV genotypes, their pathogenicity in chronic liver diseases including hepatocellular carcinoma and their effect on therapy are awaited with great interest, especially in Asia, which is an endemic region of blood-borne hepatitis viruses.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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