Hepatitis B and C in Adolescents
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An estimated 1 million to 1.25 million people in the United States are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus. Approximately 100,000 to 150,000 new infections occur each year (CDC, 2000). Of every 100 young adults who contract hepatitis B, 6 to 10 become chronic carriers. The younger the infected person, the more likely the person will become a carrier. According to CDC (2000), among the cases of acute viral hepatitis, hepatitis B accounts for 34%, and hepatitis C accounts for 16%. Possibly, 150,000 adolescents in the United States are currently infected. In addition, both types of hepatitis may become chronic with high risk of morbidity and mortality due to cirrhosis and primary hepatocellular carcinoma. The CDC estimates that approximately 16,000 adolescents die each year from cirrhosis and liver cancer secondary to viral hepatitis (CDC, 2000). The purpose of this paper is to review the available research data applicable to diagnosis, treatment, modes of transmission, and prevalence of hepatitis B and C in adolescents. The paper explores the causal relationships between drug use, tattooing, psychiatric disorders, sexual practices and the incidence of hepatitis Band C in adolescents. Consequently, the information provided by this paper may help nurse practitioners achieve greatest proficiency in the prevention of hepatitis and assessment, diagnosis and treatment of this condition in adolescents.