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Viral hepatitis in children with renal disease

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Specific and sensitive diagnostic tests are now available to identify type A, B, C, D and E hepatitis. Hepatitis A and E which cause only acute, very rarely fulminant, hepatitis are spread largely by the faecal-oral route, having a brief viraemic phase. Hepatitis B, C and D which are transmitted parenterally and via secretions are often associated with chronic viraemia. Patients with chronic renal disease are at particular risk. Impaired immunity due to disease of drugs increases the propensity to develop a chronic carrier state which may progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Limited reports indicate that hepatitis C infection may cause cirrhosis more rapidly than hepatitis B. The emergence of mutants to both hepatitis B and C is a cause for concern. Treatment with interferon is of limited efficacy. Screening of blood products for viral markers and prudent handling of potentially infected materials to avoid contamination of damaged skin or mucous membrane are the best strategies to prevent infection. Hepatitis B vaccination of all newborns, young adolescents and those at risk is the most effective means of reducing the carrier frequency.

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Correspondence to Alex P. Mowat.

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Gregorio, G.V., Mowat, A.P. Viral hepatitis in children with renal disease. Pediatr Nephrol 8, 610–619 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00858146

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Key words

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Interferon
  • Post-transfusion hepatitis
  • Hepatitis B-associated membranous glomerulonephritis
  • Renal transplant