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Seroprevalence of hepatitis A in Iranian adolescents: is it time to introduce a vaccine?

  • S. G. HOSEINI (a1), R. KELISHADI (a2), B. ATAEI (a3), M. YARAN (a4), M. E. MOTLAGH (a5), G. ARDALAN (a2), M. H. TAJADINI (a6) and S. N. MOSTAFAVI (a2)...

Summary

Universal vaccination of children for hepatitis A virus (HAV) has emerged as a cost-effective strategy to prevent this infection in regions with high incidence of symptomatic disease. Age-specific seroprevalence surveys are practical and reliable methods to estimate the rate of susceptibility in populations, and to help the implementation of vaccination policies. We surveyed the age-specific HAV seroprevalence in a nationally representative sample of Iranian adolescent students aged 10–18 years. Serum samples (n = 2494) were tested by enzyme immunoassay for total anti-HAV antibody. The overall rate of HAV seropositivity was 64% [95% confidence interval (CI), 62–66), which increased sharply from 14·8% (95% CI 7–23) at age 10 years to 72·9% (95% CI 68–78) at age 13 years, without a significant increase up to age 18 years. No significant difference in HAV seroprevalence was observed between males and females (63% vs. 65·1%), or urban and rural areas (63·4% vs. 65·2%); the seropositivity rate was similar in four different socioeconomic regions of Iran. We conclude that the seroconversion rate of HAV is high in Iranian adolescents and therefore mass vaccination of children may be necessary and should be considered by national health authorities.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

* Author for correspondence: Dr S. N. Mostafavi, Child Growth and Development Research Center, Research Institute for Primordial Prevention of Non-communicable Disease, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Hezar Jarib Street, Isfahan, Iran. (Email: n_mostafavy@med.mui.ac.ir)

References

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