Changing Pattern of Hepatitis A Virus Epidemiology in an Area of High Endemicity

authors:

avatar Marcello Campagna 1 , avatar Andrea Siddu 1 , avatar Angelo Meloni 1 , avatar Claudia Basciu 1 , avatar Luigi Ferrai 1 , avatar Alessandro Pettinau 1 , avatar Cristiana Cardia 1 , avatar Giuseppina Masia 1 , avatar Rosa Cristina Coppola 2 , *

Department of Public Health, University of Cagliari, Italy
Department of Public Health, University of Cagliari, [email protected], Italy

how to cite: Campagna M, Siddu A, Meloni A, Basciu C, Ferrai L, et al. Changing Pattern of Hepatitis A Virus Epidemiology in an Area of High Endemicity. Hepat Mon.12(6): 382-385. doi: 10.5812/hepatmon.5940.

Abstract

Background: Continuous assessment of hepatitis A virus (HAV) seroepidemiology is a useful tool to control the risk of infection.
Objectives:This study aimed to evaluate the changing patterns of anti-HAV seroprevalence in a population,which isgenerally considered to be anarea ofhigh endemicity.
Patients and Methods: Overall, the results of 3349 sera collected during the period 2005-2008 from patients attending the University Hospital of Cagliari, Italy were studied; their mean age was 52.7 years, (s + 16.22). Patients with liver disease were excluded from the study. Age specific seroprevalence results were compared with those observed in similar previous studies carried out in the same area.
Results: The overall prevalence of anti-HAV was 74.6% with consistently lower values in subjects younger than 40 years (17.5%; P < 0.0001) particularly in those under 30 years of age (8.9%, CI 5.8-11.9). A significant declining trend in age specific seroprevalence has been foundin people under 30 years;61% in 1988, 33% in 1995 and 8.9% in 2005-2008.
Conclusions: Our findings show that a significant decline inherd immunity has occurred in the last 20 years as a consequence of lower HAV circulation due to improvementsin socio-economical and hygienic conditions. Adolescents and young adults are becoming increasingly susceptible to HAV infections, as recent outbreaks of acute HAV hepatitis have occurred. Persistent environmental monitoring and the implementation of prevention measures must be considered in order to contain the risk related to this epidemiological shift.


Implication for health policy/practice/research/medical education:
Continuous monitoring on HAV seroepidemiology represent a major tool to assess the risk of HAV infection and to identify appropriate preventive measures in different societies. Being familiar with HAV epidemiology, can help health policy makers to choose the more effective and tailored measures to control the risk of infection.
Please cite this paper as:
Campagna M, Siddu A, Meloni A, Basciu C, Ferrai L, Pettinau A, et al. Changing Pattern of Hepatitis A Virus Epidemiology in an Area of High Endemicity. Hepat Mon. 2012;12(6): 382-5. DOI: 10.5812/HepatMon. 5940

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