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12. Who is at risk for chronic hepatitis B?

The people who develop hepatitis B in adulthood when you’re immune competent, have less than a ten percent risk of developing chronic liver disease. If you contract hepatitis B at birth or early infancy when you’re immunononcompetent, you have a ninety percent risk of developing chronic hepatitis. And chronic hepatitis is the step between acute hepatitis and cirrhosis. Vertical transmission causes an extremely high rate of chronic hepatitis B and liver cancer in the Asian population. The incidence of chronic infection in China is estimated at twenty percent but in some preliminary work we did in Chinatown, we found that it was over twenty percent. This is a major number. One of five or more people in this community are infected with hepatitis B. Among Chinese males in the United States, hepatitis B and liver cancer are a major, major source of mortality.