Viral hepatitis is the liver disease most frequently found in adolescents. Acute viral hepatitis is usually a benign systemic disease requiring no specific treatment. Chronic active hepatitis, while much less frequent, is more severe and generally requires long term therapy. In the individual patient, separation of acute hepatitis and its benign sequelae from chronic active hepatitis and its progression to cirrhosis is of considerable clinical importance. The authors describe the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, histology, and approaches to therapy and prophylaxis in the several types of hepatitis.
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