Korean J Med.  2005 Mar;68(3):256-260.

The etiology of acute viral hepatitis for the last 3 years

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. lymys@amc.seoul.kr


BACKGROUND: In Korea, the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis used to be the hepatitis B virus, but now the etiology of acute viral hepatitis seems to be changing. We investigated the etiology of newly developed acute viral hepatitis for the last 3 years.
We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients, who visited Asan Medical Center for jaundice during recent 3 years. Among them, one hundred eighty six patients were diagnosed as acute viral hepatitis by typical clinical feature and positive results in any one of the following tests: IgM anti-HAV, IgM anti-HBc, HCV PCR, and IgM anti-HEV.
The proportion of acute viral hepatitis A, B, C, and E were 49.5% (n=92), 45.2% (n=84), 3.8% (n=7), and 1.6% (n=3), respectively. The patients' age of acute hepatitis A (29.1 +/- 1.75 years) was significantly younger than that of acute hepatitis B (38.2 +/- 3.07 years) (p<0.001). There were 10 cases of fulminant hepatic failure, all of which were caused by hepatitis B virus. Of seven patients diagnosed as acute hepatitis C, three patients were treated with interferon-alpha and ribavirin, and all achieved sustained virologic response. Three patients, who were diagnosed as acute hepatitis E, recovered spontaneously.
Nowadays, the most common causes of acute viral hepatitis in Korea are in the order of the hepatitis A virus and the hepatitis B virus. The most prevalent age of acute hepatitis A is the 20th, while acute hepatitis B is most common in the 30th. Although the acute hepatitis C and E seems to be rare, they do occur sporadically in Korea.


Virus; Hepatitis; Etiology
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