Epidemiology of Hepatitis B -- Clinical Implications

Jacob Alexander, MD; Kris V. Kowdley, MD, FACP


April 13, 2006

In This Article


Hepatitis B continues to be a global public health problem despite large-scale efforts to eliminate this chronic viral disease via education, screening, and vaccination programs. It is currently estimated that 400 million people worldwide have chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.[1] Patients with chronic hepatitis B have a 15% to 40% risk of developing cirrhosis, liver failure, or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)[2] and a 15% to 25% risk of dying from HBV-related liver disease.[3] Chronic HBV infection is responsible for 60% to 80% of HCC and 500,000 to 1.2 million deaths every year, and is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide.[4]

Readers are encouraged to respond to George Lundberg, MD, Editor of MedGenMed, for the editor's eye only or for possible publication via email: