Frontiers in Viral Hepatitis: Chapter 8 - Maternal/fetal/pediatric HBV and HCV infections

Elsevier, Frontiers in Viral Hepatitis, 2003, Pages 89-96
Richard A. Schreiber (Associate Professor of Pediatrics)

This chapter discusses viral hepatitis B and C as they pertain to the pediatric population. Hepatitis C infection may differ in the pediatric population when compared to adults. Although historically the disease was found in young patients who were infected by contaminated blood and blood products, with improvements in blood-bank screening and blood-product processing, vertical transmission has now become the most important source of infection in children. Although acute hepatitis in the pediatric age group is often self-limited and chronic hepatitis is usually mild, the long-term outcome may not be so benign. Morbidity and mortality of childhood viral hepatitis occur in adulthood. Issues—such as vertical transmission rates, natural history of disease, strategies for prevention, and current treatment options—that are particularly relevant to infants and children are discussed in this chapter. Some of the important differences of viral hepatitis B and C infections in children compared to adults are also highlighted in the chapter.