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About Hepatitis

Hepatitis refers to liver inflammation that is often causes by viralinfection. There are five different types of Hepatitis virus (A, B, C, D, E) but only B, C and D can become chronic, leading to long- term damage to the liver. Chronic hepatitis is also the leading cause of liver cancer.

Common modes of hepatitis transmission include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and for hepatitis B transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact.


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that chronic hepatitis B and C affect over 500 million people worldwide. 74% of the total hepatitis B population lives in Asia Pacific and 20% of the hepatitis C population in South East Asia.

Data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (published in 2012) shows that despite advances in treatment and the success of the hepatitis B vaccination program in many countries, the number of viral hepatitis deaths in Asia Pacific has risen, from 695,000 deaths in 1990 to over one million deaths in 2010.

The high prevalence in Asia Pacific is not completely well understood. In Asia hepatitis B tends to be transmitted from mother to infant (unlike in North America or Europe, where it is usually transmitted through injected equipment or sexual intercourse). The younger the children are, the higher the viral load. By consequence, in Asia the virus is more likely to develop into a chronic condition and be passed on to the next generation. 

Data sourced by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), provided by CEVHAP.

IHME: http://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/
CEVHAP: http://www.cevhap.org/index.php/en/
WHO factsheet