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Causes of Hepatitis
Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Finally, hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis B and C can cause either an acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) form. Chronic forms of hepatitis B and C increase the risk for serious complications, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
New Guidelines: Screening for Hepatitis B Virus
In 2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) expanded its screening guidelines for HBV infection. The CDC now recommends that these additional groups of people be screened for hepatitis B infection:
New Guidelines: Prevention of Hepatitis A After Exposure
Based on several recent studies, the CDC‚ ' s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has changed its recommendation for preventive treatment of hepatitis A after exposure to the virus. The CDC now recommends that healthy patients between the ages of 1- 40 years receive the hepatitis A vaccine within 2 weeks of exposure. Previously, immune globulin was recommended for postexposure prophylaxis.
New Drug Approval
In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved tenofovir (Viread) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. Tenofovir belongs to the same class of drugs as adefovir (Hepsera), and is also used to treat HIV infection. There are now seven approved drugs for chronic hepatitis B treatment.
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American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases. Hepatitis A vaccine recommendations. Pediatrics. 2007 Jul;120(1):189-99.
Dienstag JL. Hepatitis B virus infection. N Engl J Med. 2008 Oct 2;359(14):1486-500.
Jou JH, Muir AJ. In the clinic. Hepatitis C. Ann Intern Med. 2008 Jun 3;148(11):ITC6-1-ITC6-16.
Lai CL, Gane E, Liaw YF, Hsu CW, Thongsawat S, Wang Y, et al. Telbivudine versus lamivudine in patients with chronic hepatitis B. N Engl J Med. 2007 Dec 20;357(25):2576-88.
Lok ASF and McMahon BJ. American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Practice Guidelines: Chronic Hepatitis B. Hepatology. 2007;2:507 -539.
Maheshwari A, Ray S, Thuluvath PJ. Acute hepatitis C. Lancet. 2008 Jul 26;372(9635):321-32.
Mukherjee S, Sorrell MF. Controversies in liver transplantation for hepatitis C. Gastroenterology. 2008 May;134(6):1777-88.
National Institutes of Health. Consensus Development Conference Statement: Management of Hepatitis B. October 20 -22, 2008.
Pungpapong S, Kim WR, Poterucha JJ. Natural history of hepatitis B virus infection: an update for clinicians. Mayo Clin Proc. 2007 Aug;82(8):967-75.
Rambaldi A, Jacobs BP, Gluud C. Milk thistle for alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Oct 17;(4):CD003620.
Scott JD, Gretch DR. Molecular diagnostics of hepatitis C virus infection: a systematic review. JAMA. 2007 Feb 21;297(7):724-32.
Victor JC, Monto AS, Surdina TY, Suleimenova SZ, Vaughan G, Nainan OV, et al. Hepatitis A vaccine versus immune globulin for postexposure prophylaxis. N Engl J Med. 2007 Oct 25;357(17):1685-94. Epub 2007 Oct 18.
Weinbaum CM, Williams I, Mast EE, Wang SA, Finelli L, Wasley A, et al. Recommendations for identification and public health management of persons with chronic hepatitis B virus infection. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2008 Sep 19;57(RR-8):1-20
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