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EPIDEMIOLOGY OF HEPATITIS C VIRUS & HEPATITIS B VIRUS COINFECTION IN ALBANIA

In South-eastern Europe, similar to other post-socialist regions on the continent, the prevalence of hepatitis C  is increasing. Specially, injection drug users (IDU) are exposed to a high risk of  this blood-borne infection. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are both hepatotropic viruses and they share same modes of transmission, so coinfection with two viruses is not uncommon, especially in areas with a high prevalence of HBV. The worldwide prevalence of HBV/HCV coinfection is unknown and might be underestimated with the phenomenon of silent (occult) HBV infection. Patients with dual HBV and HCV infection have more severe liver disease and an increased risk for progression to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Recently, Albania is a country with intermediate prevalence of viral hepatitis B and a not precisely known prevalence of HCV even some values reported by few studies. We performed this study to furnish more information about the situation of coinfection by these viruses in Albania.

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