Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 349-357

Epidemiology of viral hepatitis in Saudi Arabia: Are we off the hook?


1 Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology Unit, King Khalid University Hospital, College of Medicine, King Saud University; Liver Disease Research Center, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Liver Disease Research Center, King Saud University; Hepatobiliary Sciences and Liver Transplantation, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ayman A Abdo
Gastroenterology Unit, Department of Medicine, King Khalid University Hospital, College of Medicine, King Saud University, PO Box 2925 (59), Riyadh - 11461
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1319-3767.103425

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Some 400 million people worldwide are currently infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV), and the infection is common in the Middle East. Another 170 million people around the globe presently live with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Both HBV and HCV represent a worldwide epidemic. Despite significant decline in the prevalence of HBV and HCV infection in Saudi Arabia, these viral diseases cause significant morbidity and mortality, and impose a great burden on the country's healthcare system. On the other hand, Saudi epidemiology studies have shown that the hepatitis A virus seroprevalence in the country has reduced considerably over the past two decades. The progress in mapping the epidemiological pattern of viral hepatitis in Saudi Arabia has not only aided our understanding of the disease, but has also exposed the small but relevant gaps in our identification of the intricate details concerning the disease's clinical expression. In this review, we aim to document the timeline of viral hepatitis epidemiology in Saudi Arabia, while summarizing the relevant published literature on the subject.


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