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April 1972

Epidemiology of Infectious Hepatitis

Author Affiliations

From the Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Prague.

Am J Dis Child. 1972;123(4):340-345. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1972.02110100072028

Viral hepatitis continues to present many intriguing and perplexing questions.

Forms of Hepatitis.—Several currently accepted findings in the differentiation of two forms of viral hepatitis, ie, infectious hepatitis (IH) and serum hepatitis (SH), should be reexamined in the context of recently acquired relevent data since the Second WHO Expert Committee report on hepatitis of 1963.1 Krugman et al2 have confirmed the observations of several (Findlay et al,3 Propert,4 Mirick and Shank5) and demonstrated in a series of experiments that the MS-2 type is also moderately contagious and infectious orally and through person to person contact. In contrast to older opinions that considered most transfusion-associated hepatitis as serum hepatitis, recent studies have suggested that infectious hepatitis may be transmitted parenterally as frequently as serum hepatitis (Shimizu and Kitamoto,6 NCDC Reports7).

Communicability.—The fecal-oral spread, mostly by person to person contact, remains the most