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Lancet. 2003 Dec 20;362(9401):2095-100.

Viral hepatitis C.

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Service d'Hépato-gastro-entérologie, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtriére, Université, Paris, France.


More than 170 million people worldwide are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is responsible for more than 100000 cases of liver cancer per year, with similar numbers of digestive haemorrhage and ascites episodes. Major breakthroughs have been made in diagnosis and treatment, and advances in molecular biology mean that the replicative state of the virus can now be assessed. Genotype and serum viral load are useful predictors of response to treatment. The combination of pegylated interferon and ribavirin can eradicate the virus in more than 50% of patients. These antiviral treatments reduce liver fibrosis progression and can reverse cirrhosis. Unfortunately, even in developed countries, death due to hepatitis C is increasing because of inadequate detection and treatment.

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