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Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by a viral infection. This infection could be acute (short-lasting) or chronic (long-lasting).
How many people does Viral Hepatitis affect?
Hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV has a higher incidence in poor countries. The greatest prevalence is in urban areas of Asia, Africa and South America, where practically all inhabitants are serologically positive. Improvements in hygiene conditions and vaccinations have reduced the number of cases of hepatitis A in Spain. Despite this, there are still outbreaks of hepatitis A associated with risky behaviours.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Approximately 2 billion people are estimated to be infected with hepatitis B virus worldwide, of which 350–400 million have a chronic form of the disease. In Spain, around 0.5% of the current population have hepatitis B, while the highest prevalence is in people of an Asian or Eastern European decent.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV). About 70 million people worldwide are infected with HCV. It is estimated that 1% of the Spanish population (475,000 people) have hepatitis C and it is the most common cause of chronic liver disease and the need for a liver transplant.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV). Hepatitis E is common in regions with poor hygiene conditions where it sometimes leads to epidemics (India, Africa, Mexico). It has a higher prevalence across Europe than believed previously and around a quarter of the population has been exposed to the virus.