n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Advances in hepatitis B : more about... gastroenterology

Volume 27, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Hepatitis B virus (HBV) remains an important public health issue in South Africa. Prior to the incorporation of HBV vaccination into the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) more than a decade ago, prevalence rates of HBV were estimated at between 0.3% and 15%. However, the potential benefits of introducing the vaccine have not yet been accurately assessed and may not be fully realised without complete vaccination coverage. A further potentially negative factor in HBV control is the burgeoning HIV / AIDS epidemic as the natural history of HBV is altered in those who are co-infected. The long-term risks of chronic HBV infection include chronic hepatitis, which may evolve to cirrhosis and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma is significantly increased, irrespective of the presence of cirrhosis.

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