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Review
, 49 (1-2), 70-5

Current Status of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Korea

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Review

Current Status of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Korea

Dong Jin Suh et al. Intervirology.

Abstract

Chronic liver disease, including liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), has been a major cause of mortality in Korea. The prevalence rates of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections in the general population of Korea are approximately 1 and 5%, respectively. The most common genotypes of HCV in Korea are 1b and 2a. The sustained virological response rates after antiviral therapies, including combined interferon-alpha and ribavirin, have been reported to be 38-59%. The annual incidence of HCC among HCV-related liver cirrhosis has been estimated at 5%, and approximately 12% of HCC is attributable to HCV and 68% to HBV in Korea. The mean age of patients with HCV-related HCC at the time of diagnosis was consistently 10 years older than that of patients with HBV-related HCC. Moreover, HCV-related HCC was accompanied by more advanced liver cirrhosis than HBV-related HCC. Coinfection with HBV seemed to increase the risk of developing HCC in chronic HCV infection. After the successful program of hepatitis B vaccination, HCV infection is now emerging as an important etiology of chronic liver disease in Korea, which warrants more detailed and large-scale studies.

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