oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Joining forces against infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa : editorial

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1015-8782
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1084



The public health significance of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is frequently underestimated, as it takes many years for its complications to appear. However, hepatitis B ranks among the greatest health concerns globally, with over two billion people having evidence of exposure and at least 350 million people being chronic HBV carriers. Carriers often show no symptoms and are in many cases unaware of their condition. HBV infection in adults is often acute but selflimiting while, in contrast, younger persons are less likely to develop symptoms, but are more likely to become chronic carriers. This aspect is a vital cause for concern, since the chronic state potentially leads to death from liver cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in later years.

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