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Asian Am Pac Isl J Health. 2001 Summer-Fall;9(2):141-53.

The natural history of hepatitis B in Asian Americans.

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Digestive Health Associates of Texas, 6200 W. Parker Road, Suite 512, Plano, TX 75287, USA.



This article provides an overview of the natural history of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, its complications, treatment and impact on the Asian American population in the United States. A discussion of the impact that hepatitis B vaccination can have on reducing HBV infection and liver disease is also provided.


A review of current literature on the history, diagnosis, complications and treatment of HBV infection was conducted as well as a review of current hepatitis B vaccination efforts.


HBV infection is common in the Asian American population, with 1 in 10 Asian Americans affected. Perinatal and childhood transmission account for most of these chronic cases. Molecular genetic advances have allowed for advances in understanding of this disease in chronically infected individuals. Interferon therapy and/or Lamivudine are currently the main therapies.


Even though considerable success has been shown with drug therapy, and numerous other agents are under investigation, the high morbidity and mortality from cirrhosis of the liver and hepatocellular carcinoma of those chronically infected with HBV, risk prevention and vaccination will have to be the main foci for future eradication. The combined efforts of public health, health practitioners, immunization and cancer control leaders and voluntary and advocacy organizations are necessary to achieve universal hepatitis B vaccination.

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