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Feature Article

Managing the rising burden of chronic liver disease: chronic hepatitis B and C

Venessa Pattullo, Simone I Strasser

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Abstract

Collaboration between community and specialist services is key to managing the increasing burden of chronic liver disease, which may lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Chronic hepatitis B and C, which account for about 8% of the chronic liver disease in Australia, are discussed in this article.

Key Points

  • Chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis C represent about 8% of all cases of chronic liver disease in Australia.
  • The rising prevalence of chronic liver disease contributes to increasing rates of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.
  • Chronic hepatitis B and C can be asymptomatic in the early stages of infection.
  • Screening at-risk populations for hepatitis B virus and/ or hepatitis C virus will identify patients who require further management to prevent disease progression.
  • Highly effective antiviral treatments are available to treat chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis C.
  • Patients with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis of any cause should be referred to a liver specialist.

    Picture credit: © Freshidea/Stock.adobe.com

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