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MINERVA GASTROENTEROLOGICA E DIETOLOGICA
A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics
Indexed/Abstracted in: CAB, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
AN UPDATE ON HEPATITIS B VIRUS INFECTION
Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2006 June;52(2):187-93
Chronic hepatitis C infection in children
Broide E., Kimchi N. A., Scapa E.
Institute of Gasteroenterology Asaf Harofeh Medical Center, Zerifin affiliated to Sackler School of Medicine
Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Hepatitis C virus infection may differ in the pediatric age group with respect to transmission, natural history and response to treatment. Most infected children develop chronic hepatitis but with a relatively mild course of the disease. The most efficient transmission of hepatitis C virus is through direct percutaneous exposure to infected blood or blood products. However, the major risk factor for acquisition of hepatitis C virus in children at present is maternal-infant transmission. The rate of progression to advanced liver disease seems to be more rapid in post transfusional and vertically acquired hepatitis C virus infection than in sporadic hepatitis C virus infection acquired postnatally, or in those without known risk factors. There is a wide variety of histopathological expression, depending on the geographical distribution of the different countries. Treatment for hepatitis C virus in children has not yet been approved. However, combination treatment with peginterferon-alpha-2b with ribavirin shows encouraging results and is generally well tolerated. More randomized controlled trials are needed in the future to optimize the approach to hepatitis C virus infection in children.