Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Nutrition, and Hepatology, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA.
Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Nutrition, and Hepatology, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA - firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the present paper, we review the increased disease burden of Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) infection that is recognized worldwide; especially in children when the most common mode of transmission is vertically from infected mothers. In children with HBV and HCV infection, spontaneous clearance of the virus in the first years of life is not common, in contrast with adults, but these patients often stay asymptomatic until early adulthood, when disease has progressed to chronic hepatitis with increased risk of cirrhosis and its complication, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Due to limited treatment options of HBV infection in the pediatric population, clinicians focus on primary prevention, by vaccinating all infants in the first days of life. Infants born to infected mothers, receive intravenous immunoglobulin on top of the vaccine, and thus preventing transmission in 95% of the infants. While for HVC infection, since there is no vaccine to prevent HCV disease, providers focus primarily on treatment. The treatment landscape of HCV infection in children rapidly evolves, away from interferon regimens, and towards direct-acting antiviral agents that have a safer and more efficacious drug profile. Currently, there are ongoing clinical trials investigating the efficacy and tolerance of direct-acting agents in children below 12 years of age.