New hepatitis viruses: are there enough letters in the alphabet?

Med J Aust. 1996 Jan 15;164(2):87-9. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.1996.tb101355.x.


Testing is now available for five recognised hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D and E), and molecular technology is uncovering further hepatotropic viruses. An enteric agent isolated from human stool samples and transmitted experimentally to primates is a candidate hepatitis F virus. A provisionally designated blood-borne hepatitis G virus is associated with acute and chronic non-ABCDE hepatitis and has a worldwide distribution. A group of flavi-like viruses, the GB group, also blood borne, has also been reported. The role of two of these viruses, GBV-A and GBV-B, in human viral hepatitis has not been determined, but a third agent, GBV-C, is associated with acute and chronic hepatitis and appears to be a West African variant of hepatitis G. Our current knowledge suggests that the hepatitis alphabet may need to be extended even after inclusion of some of these new viruses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis Viruses / classification*
  • Hepatitis Viruses / genetics
  • Hepatitis Viruses / isolation & purification
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Animal / classification
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / virology*
  • Humans