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.
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