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High Prevalence of Hep B in Cambodia: Doctor

  • VOA Khmer

Hepatitis B, a disease that attacks the liver, has high prevalence in Cambodia, but there are now a number of drugs to treat it, a US doctor said Thursday.

Taing Tek Hong, a Florida-based physician, told “Hello VOA” that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved the following drugs to treat hepatitis B: Interferon alpha-2b, Peg Interferon alfa-2a, Lamivudine (Epivir-HBV), Adefovir (Hepsera), Entecavir (Baraclude), Telbivudine (Tyzeka), Tenofovir (Viread).

In 2002, as many as 13 percent of Cambodian blood donors tested positive for the antigen of the Hepatitis-B virus, he said. Another study showed prevalence of around 12 percent for people aged 20 to 35.

Chronic infection affects most infants, around a third of infected children below age five and around 6 percent of anyone affected age six and above, he said. Chronic infection leads to death in around 15 percent to 25 percent of patients, he said.

“Hepatitis B can be transmitted by sexual contact, sharing of needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood, accidental needle sticks, or mother to child,” Taing Tek Hong said. “Risk factors include unprotected sex with more than one partner, unprotected sex with someone who’s infected with HBV, having a sexually transmitted infection, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, men who have sexual contact with other men, and sharing needles during IV-drug use.”

Other risks include living in a household with someone with a chronic infection, working where exposure to blood is common, receiving dialysis or traveling to regions like Africa, Central and Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, he said.