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International Journal of Infectious Diseases: Volume 4, Number 1
Prevalence of Anti-Hepatitis A Antibodies in an Urban Middle Class Area of Argentina: Some Associated Factors
Horacio López, MD; Teresa Zitto, MD; Patricia Baré, PhD; Gabriela Vidal, MD; Jorge Vukasovic, MD; and Roberto Gómez, MD

Int J Infect Dis 1999; 4:34-37

Objective: This study evaluated the seroprevalence of hepatitis A virus (HAV) antibodies in 360 middle-class subjects from Buenos Aires City and its outskirts. Methods: The study population included 360 individuals between 10 and 89 years of age, from the socioeconomic middle class in Buenos Aires City and some suburban areas of Buenos Aires province. Antibodies to hepatitis A virus were determined by enzyme immunoassay test kits. Results: The overall prevalence of HAV antibodies was 42.2%. The highest percentage of seronegativity was found in the subgroup of younger people without a history of symptomatic hepatitis and living in houses with more than one bathroom (86.9%). In the subgroup aged 21 to 60 years, the highest rates of seronegativity were found in individuals with higher level of education living in houses with tap water (66.6%). In both groups, seronegativity may be correlated with a higher socioeconomic status. Conclusions: In the middle-class community studied, more than 50% of people under 30 years of age were unprotected against HAV. Thus, the use of a vaccine against hepatitis A has to be considered for the prevention of symptomatic hepatitis, especially in adults at risk of infection, such as those who travel to areas with poor sanitation, taking into consideration that the severity of the disease increases with age.

KEYWORDS: epidemiology, hepatitis A, seroprevalence

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