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Profile of Viral Hepatitis in Saudi Arabia

Authors: A. A. Alshabanat, R. B. Albacker, A. A. Basalama, A. A. Bin Salamah, A. S. Alfrayh


The study was conducted to investigate the profile of hepatitis in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and to determine which age group hepatitis viruses most commonly infect. The epidemiology of viral hepatitis in Saudi Arabia has undergone major changes, concurrent with major socioeconomic developments over the last two to three decades. This disease represents a major public health problem in Saudi Arabia resulting in the need for considerable healthcare resources. A retrospective cross sectional analysis of the reported cases of viral hepatitis was conducted based on the reports of The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia about Hepatitis A, B and C infections in all regions from the period of January 2006 to December 2010. The study demonstrated that incidence of viral Hepatitis is decreasing, except for Hepatitis B that showed minimal increase. Of hepatitis A, B, and C, Hepatitis B virus (HBV) was the most predominant type, accounting for (53%) of the cases, followed by Hepatitis C virus (HCV) (30%) and HAV (17%). HAV infection predominates in children (5–14 years) with 60% of viral hepatitis cases, HBV in young adults (15–44 years) with 69% of viral hepatitis cases, and HCV in older adults (>45 years) with 59% of viral hepatitis cases. Despite significant changes in the prevalence of viral hepatitis A, B and C, it remains a major public health problem in Saudi Arabia; however, it showed a significant decline in the last two decades that could be attributed to the vaccination programs and the improved health facilities. Further researches are needed to identify the risk factors making a specific age group or a specific region in Saudi Arabia targeted for a specific type of hepatitis viruses.

Keywords: Epidemiology, Hepatitis, Saudi Arabia.

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