Chronic viral hepatitis caused by hepatitis B and C viruses constitutes a major problem for world-wide public health.
Viral hepatitis B and C:
In our country, the prevalence of chronic hepatitis B is estimated to 2.5–3% of the population, and hepatitis C 1.5–2% of the population, although the incidence of chronic viral hepatitis varies per geographic department and population. The main effects on public health are increased morbidity and mortality of patients from liver disease and the transmission of the viruses within the social environment. As is well known, a significant percentage of patients with chronic hepatitis B or C infection are associated with complications of chronic infection, such as liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), liver failure and death, if they are not monitored and do not receive specific antiviral therapy.
Hepatitis B virus is transmitted by sexual contact, parenterally (i.v., i.m. and s.c.) and from a mother with HBsAg(+) to a child during pregnancy or childbirth (vertical transmission).
Hepatitis C virus is mainly transmitted by parenteral contact and rarely through sexual contact or vertical transmission from mother to child. The potential of therapeutic intervention for chronic hepatitis B and C has improved significantly in recent years.
The Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP) Office for Viral Hepatitis has been in operation since 2000 and deals with:
The general public, health professionals and high-risk groups can obtain information about the modes of transmission, prevention and treatment: