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Diseases related to hepatitis B and C are the leading killer among Asians. Most Asians acquire hepatitis B as a consequence of vertical transmission from their mothers during birth or later in life via child-to-child transmission. Because of their underdeveloped immune systems, nearly all infants exposed to the virus will become chronic carriers of hepatitis B. As adults, they are at high risk for developing liver cancer or cirrhosis, a condition that leads to irreversible scarring of the liver. In addition, many Asians acquire the hepatitis C virus prior to immigration to the United States. These patients are also at high risk for developing liver cancer or cirrhosis.
- Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis have been among the leading causes of death in the United States and in California
- Infection by the Hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus and excessive alcohol consumption are the most-important etiologies
- One out of every 10 Asian Americans are already infected with the hepatitis B virus. Asian American have the highest rate of liver cancer of any ethnic group
- As many as 1 out of every 10 Asian Americans has chronic hepatitis B
Diseases and Conditions
Read more about Asian Liver Disease Statistics from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
References: 1. American Liver Foundation, 2. Minino A, Heron M, Smith B, Deaths:Preliminary data for 2004. National Center for Statistics. National Vital Statistics Report. Chronic Liver Disease/cirrhoisis. Released.