What is the prevalence of viral hepatitis globally?

Updated: Jun 12, 2017
  • Author: Naga Swetha Samji, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Globally, viral hepatitis was the seventh leading cause of death in 2013, up from the 10th leading cause in 1990. [37] Worldwide, HAV is responsible for an estimated 1.4 million infections annually. [38]  About 2 billion people in the world have evidence of past or current HBV infection, with 240 million chronic carriers of HBsAg. [5]  HBV, along with the associated infection by the hepatitis D virus, is one of the most common pathogens afflicting humans. [39] HBV leads to 650,000 deaths annually as a result of viral hepatitis–induced liver disease. [5]

The worldwide annual incidence of acute HCV infection is not easily estimated, because patients are often asymptomatic. An estimated 71 million people are chronically infected with HCV worldwide. [18]  About 55-85% of these people infected progress to chronic HCV infection, with a 15-30% risk of developing liver cirrhosis within two decades. [18]  China, the United States, and Russia have the largest populations of anti-HCV positive injection drug users (IDUs). It is estimated that 6.4 million IDUs worldwide are positive for antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) (anti-HBc), and 1.2 million are HBsAg-positive. [40]

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