Global Burden of Liver Disease

Globally, liver diseases represent a major world public health problem, and chronic liver diseases (CLDs) are a major and increasing cause of morbidity and mortality. Recent estimations indicate that 844 million people have CLDs, with a mortality rate of 2 million deaths per year.1 The causes of CLDs include viral-induced, such as chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and the metabolic-related, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis (NASH). As the epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus increase worldwide, the prevalence of NAFLD and NASH are increasing proportionately. Reports estimate the global prevalence of NAFLD in the general population to be 25% whereas the global prevalence of NASH ranges from 3% to 5%2. CLDs if left untreated can lead to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver transplantation, and death.

Viral-induced liver disease is a growing and major cause of death in China and has a substantial impact on the global burden of diseases. There are more than 90 million chronic carriers of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in China, accounting for about one-third of all HBV chronic carriers in the world3. It is estimated that 40 million people in China are infected with the hepatitis C virus4 and that 85% of the carriers may be unaware of their infection status5. Nearly 400,000 people die from liver cancer every year in China, which accounts for more than half of the deaths from liver cancer worldwide6.


1 Byass P. The global burden of liver disease: a challenge for methods and for public health. BMC Med. 2014; 12:159.
2 Younossi ZM. Non-alcholic fatty liver disease - a global public health perspective. J Hepatol 2019; 70:531-544.
3 Hepatitis Key Facts. World Health Organization Western Pacific Region website. Accessed July 18, 2016.
4 Li D, et al. PLoS ONE 8(1): e54815. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054815
5 HCV Epidemiology in the United States. University of Washington. Accessed July 18, 2016
6 Wang, et al. The global burden of liver disease: the major impact of China. Hepatology. 2014; 60(6): 2099-2108.