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  You think this is a history lesson, but let's do some math. What does Hepato meaning "liver" plus
tropic meaning "infectious and replicating in the liver" plus DNA (HBV genome) equal? That's right,
boys and girls, we get the name of the disease most detrimental to what early Mesopotamian civilizations
deemed the seat of life--the liver.
    The manifestations of liver diseases such as hepatitis B  included jaundice, characterized by
Hippocrates and found to be infectious as early as the 8th century. By 1885, hepatitis was found to be
transmittable through blood tranfusions and syringes when epidemics of jaundice broke out during the
wars of the 17th-19th centuries. During World War II, between 1939-1945, a series of outbreaks occured
after vaccination for measles and yellow fever, implying further that the virus was blood-borne.
   In 1947, Mac Callum classified viral hepatitis into two types: Viral Hepatitis A, or infectious hepatitis,
and Viral Hepatis B, or Seum hepatitis. By 1963, research concerning Hepatitis finally paid off. In 1965,
Baruch Blumberg, then working at the National Health Institute (NIH), discovered the Australia antigen
(later known to be Hepatitis B surface antigen, or HBsAg) in the blood of aborigines. He had been studying
samples of  sera from multiply transfused hemophiliacs for polymorphic antibodies, and showed that the
antigen HBsAg had high presence in leukemia and Down's syndrome patients.  Later in 1968, Prince and
Okochi isolated the Australia antigen in hepatis B patients, and from this information, along with the discovery
of the Dane particle in 1970, the first vaccine for hepatitis B was produced in 1981 and licensed as "Heptavax."
   More than a decade later, the nation-wide vaccination program on newborns in Taiwan originally launched
in 1984 showed successful results, with reported decreases in annual incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma
in children.


The History of Hepatitis
8th Century:  Infectious Nature of HBV suggested

17th-19th Centuries:  Outbreaks of epidemics of jaundice in military and civilian populations during wars

1883:  Lurman reports outbreaks of serum hepatitis follwing vaccination of dockers

1908: McDonald postulates that the infectious jaundice is caused by a virus

1939-1945: WWII-A series of outbreaks after vaccination for measles and yellow fever

1947: MacCallum classifies viral hepatitis into two types-  
               Viral hepatitis A---> Infectious hepatitis
          Viral hepatitis B---> Serum hepatitis
1965: Blumberg discovers Australia antigen (HBsAg) in aborigines and shows presence of antigen
at high frequency in patients with leukemia and children with Down's syndrome

1970: Dane discovers the Dane particle (complete HBV particle)

1972: Discovers HBeAg

1973: Feinstone and Purcell identifies HAV

1977: Rizzetto describes delta antigen HDV

1983: Recovery of HEV

1988: Chiron group (Choo, Kuo, Houghton) closes and identifies HCV.

1995: Abbot group reports GB Virus-C (GBV-C) and Genelabs group reports in 1996 hepatitis
          G virus (HGV)---GBV-C=HGV
1996: Chang's group at NTUH reports in JAMA the successful prevention of HBV infection by
          nation-wide vaccination on newborn babies launched in 1984 in Taiwan.
1997: Chang's group at NTUH reports in NEJM a decrease in annual incidence rate of 
          hepatocellular carcinoma in children ascribed to nation-wide vaccination against HBV on
          newborn babies launched in 1984 in Taiwan.




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