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Adolesc Med Clin. 2004 Feb;15(1):145-58, x-xi.

Chronic viral hepatitis.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of California at San Francisco, 500 Parnassus Avenue, MU E406, Box 0136, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Although less common in childhood, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) remain the most common causes of chronic hepatitis in the United States and worldwide. Children with chronic HBV or HCV are often asymptomatic, with normal or mildly elevated serum transaminases. Although chronic HBV and HCV are indolent diseases in childhood, they cause significant morbidity and mortality later in life. Because the dreaded complications of chronic HBV and HCV--cirrhosis with liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma--can be seen in childhood, routine follow-up with a pediatric gastroenterologist or hepatologist is recommended. The most important role of the primary care physician and pediatric gastroenterologist or hepatologist is prevention of chronic viral hepatitis through education and screening programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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