The Brescia division of the Italian Association of Blood donors (AVIS- Brescia) celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1985. The idea of organizing a Postgraduate Course on Viral Hepatitis on this occasion developed for ob- vious reasons. Viral hepatitis is a major concern in blood transfusion and Brescia is located in the region of Lombardy characterized by a high HBsAg carrier rate in its population. Thus it seemed timely to convene a scientific forum in which the present state of knowledge on viral hepatitis would be summarized. This would allow us to review the tremendous progress achieved over the last 15 years, and also to focus on latest developments which pave the way for future investigation. The publication of the proceedings of this meeting was considered use- ful, since it provides a tangible reminder of a comprehensive overview of the broad topic of viral hepatitis, its complications, and its connections with the practice of blood transfusion. The organizers were fortunate in obtaining the active participation of recognized experts in a variety of hepatological diSCiplines. Their contri- butions summarized the more mature areas of knowledge in the field, in- cluding clinical aspects, epidemiology and morphology, as well as newer developments in the forefront of hepatitis research, like new diagnostic techniques, oncogenesis, treatment, and vaccination.