Indexed on: 14 Dec '11Published on: 14 Dec '11Published in: Antiviral therapy
Although chronic HBV infection is the leading cause of chronic liver disease and death worldwide, there are substantial differences in its clinical courses regarding prevalence, mode of transmission, characteristics of each phase, responses to antiviral therapy, and development of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, according to geographical areas (Asia versus Western Europe and North America versus Africa). Furthermore, the clinical course in infected individuals depends on a complex interplay among various factors including viral, host, environmental and other factors. Recently, understanding of molecular characteristics of the prevailing HBV genotypes, frequently accompanied mutations and their clinical implications might explain these geographical differences more pertinently. Hence, in this article, we review the global epidemiology and the natural history of HBV infection, with emphasis on summarizing the different HBV genotypes according to regions.