THE FREQUENCY OF NON-A. NON-B HEPATITIS IN ACUTE AND CHRONIC LIVER DISEASE
Med. J. Malaysia
Serological markers were used to determine the infective agents causing acute viral hepatitis in 246 patients. The frequencies of the five viral infections investigated were: non-A, non-B hepatitis -99 patients (40.2%); hepatitis A-98 patients (39.8%); hepatitis B-43 patients (17.5%); cytomegalovirus » 4 patients (1.6%); and Epstein-Barr virus-2 patients (0.8%). The log mean ages of presentation for the three predominant infections were: hepatitis A-18 years; hepatitis B-25 years; and non-A,
... -B hepatitis-30 years (F = 18.8, p = < 0.001). 52% of all cases were Malays (expected 32. 7%); 32% Chinese (expected 301 54.6%); and 16% Indians (expected 1l.5%) (X 2 = 53, p = < 0.001). Hepatitis A virus infection was more common amongst Malays whilst non-A, non-B. hepatitis lWS more frequent amongst Chinese and Indians. 28% of children « 16 years) and 50% of adults had serological markers of previous hepatitis B infection. The variation in frequency for the different forms of hepatitis amongst the three main ethnic groups would suggest that socioeconomic and/or cultural factors are important in the propagation of acute viral hepatitis in Malaysia. Hllsng-negative chronic liver disease in our community may be a product of the high incidence of non-A, non-B hepatitis.