Thursday, May 16, 2013

History of Hepatitis

Originally described by Hippocrates in the second century BC, hepatitis has an ancient historical perspective.

In the early years of this century it was labeled acute catarrhal jaundice and was not regarded as an infectious disease. The earliest description of outbreaks of hepatitis in the ancient world most likely involved hepatitis A virus.

Jaundice was generally considered obstructive in origin, although large epidemics associated with military campaigns were describe as early as the 17th century and continued through World War II.

The earliest recorded outbreak in the United States occurred in Norfolk, Virginia in 1812.

In 1928 W.N Pickles a country practitioner in Yorkshire showed that the incubation period was approximately one month and transmission was by some form of person to person transfer.

From 1940s through the 1950s, extensive efforts to identify the agents associated with viral hepatitis were unsuccessful.

The era of definitive etiologic discovery in hepatitis was initiated in the mid 1960s, with the discovery by Baruch Blumberg and coworkers and Prince of the hepatitis B surface antigen that circulates in the bloods carriers of the infection.

This was followed by the discovery of hepatitis A virus by F Deinhardt.

Advances in molecular techniques in the late 1980s, especially the polymerase chain reaction, have ushered in the discovery of two new virus, hepatitis C and hepatitis E.
History of Hepatitis

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