Viral hepatitis is defined as “an inflammation of the liver caused by one of the five hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D and E.” Infections, toxic substances, such as alcohol and certain drugs, and auto-immune diseases can also cause hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis is considered a significant public health problem because of the sheer number of people affected, the number of deaths caused, and because of its potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people. Combined, hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer, globally.
How common is Hepatitis B in the Philippines?
Hepatitis B is a major public health problem in the Philippines. An estimated 7.3 million adult Filipinos (16.7% of the adult population) are chronically infected making our country hyperendemic for hepatitis B. Both HBV and HCV are transmitted through contact with contaminated blood and body fluids. In the Philippines, the most common way that persons with HBV acquired the infection is through mother to child transmission at the time of childbirth. Hepatitis B, a disease that attacks the liver, has high prevalence in Philippines, but there are now a number of medicines to treat it.
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