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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1997 Mar-Apr;91(2):121-4.

Tropical aspects of viral hepatitis. Hepatitis C.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Queen Mary's University Hospital, London, UK.


This paper reviews our current understanding of hepatitis C infection in tropical countries. Since its discovery in 1989, hepatitis C has been recognized as an important disease in many tropical countries. In Egypt the prevalence in some sections of the population may-exceed 20%. In most tropical areas, however, the epidemiology of hepatitis C infection is poorly defined. There are clear variations in the distribution of genotypes in different areas and this may be one of the factors which influence the natural history of infection in different regions of the world. Routes of infection in tropical countries are poorly defined, most carriers having no clear risk factors for infection. There is some speculation that inadequate sterilization of medical equipment may be a route of infection in some areas. A combination of factors may result in an increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma developing in patients from the tropics infected with hepatitis C and the prognosis may be worse due to co-infection with hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus, both of which may lead to accelerated liver disease. Prospects for disease control are poor due to the difficulty of developing a vaccine to the virus.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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