Changes in seroprevalence to hepatitis A in Victoria, Australia: A comparison of three time points.
Address: School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Australia.
Serological data provide an important measure of past exposure and immunity to hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection in a population. National serosurveys from developed countries have typically indicated a decline in HAV seroprevalence over time as sanitation levels improve. We examined trends in the seroepidemiology of HAV antibodies in Victoria, Australia, drawing on cross-sectional samples taken at three time points over a 20-year period. Stored sera from 1988 (n=753), 1998 (n=1091), and 2008 (n=791) from persons aged 1-69 years were obtained from the state of Victoria, Australia. The within-year population adjusted results show a significant trend of increasing population HAV seroprevalence over time from 34.3% (95% CI 31.7-36.9) in 1988, to 40.0% (95% CI 37.1-42.8) in 1998 and 55.1% (95% CI 52.1-58.1) in 2008, P<0.0001. A particularly noticeable rise in population seroprevalence was observed between 1998 and 2008 for those aged 5-39 years. The increase in HAV seropositivity over time is in contrast to the declining rates of disease notification in Australia. Based on comparisons with other Australian data, it appears the increase in population seroprevalence over the last two decades is unlikely to be due to endemic transmission of infection. Instead, other factors, including increases in travel to HAV endemic regions, migration to Australia from HAV endemic regions and vaccine uptake are more likely causes. Ongoing monitoring of serological HAV profiles in the population is required to determine future policy direction to prevent increased burden.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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