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Hepatitis A virus infections in travelers, 1988-2004


Mütsch, Margot; Spicher, V M; Gut, C; Steffen, Robert (2006). Hepatitis A virus infections in travelers, 1988-2004. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 42(4):490-497.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Uncertainty exists about the current risk of hepatitis A virus infection in nonimmune travelers to destinations with high or intermediate risk of transmission. We analyzed recent epidemiological data on imported hepatitis A to determine region-specific attack rates and incidences. METHODS: Surveillance data on hepatitis A virus infections diagnosed during 1988-2004 were evaluated on the basis of notification by laboratories, additional reports of physicians, and traveler's statistics. This study focuses on international travelers with hepatitis A virus infection detected after their return to Switzerland. RESULTS: The rate of imported hepatitis A virus infections decreased 75% from 1988 to 2004 and accounted overall for 42% of all hepatitis A cases reported in Switzerland. The actual incidence of hepatitis A in travelers to countries of high or intermediate risk of transmission was 3.0-11.0 per 100,000 person-months abroad for all travelers and 6.0-28.0 per 100,000 for those presumed to be nonimmune. The actual proportion of those visiting friends and relatives among patients with hepatitis A has increased to 28.2%, with children aged 0-14 years predominating. Reductions in the incidence by hepatitis A vaccination were estimated to vary between 35.0% and 61.8% for different destinations. CONCLUSIONS: The risk of hepatitis A virus infections has decreased by a factor of 10-50-fold over time, compared with findings from older studies. The risk, however, remains very considerable at many destinations, including frequently visited places, such as Mexico. Children of immigrants are a high-risk population. Strategies are needed to reach those at highest risk.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Uncertainty exists about the current risk of hepatitis A virus infection in nonimmune travelers to destinations with high or intermediate risk of transmission. We analyzed recent epidemiological data on imported hepatitis A to determine region-specific attack rates and incidences. METHODS: Surveillance data on hepatitis A virus infections diagnosed during 1988-2004 were evaluated on the basis of notification by laboratories, additional reports of physicians, and traveler's statistics. This study focuses on international travelers with hepatitis A virus infection detected after their return to Switzerland. RESULTS: The rate of imported hepatitis A virus infections decreased 75% from 1988 to 2004 and accounted overall for 42% of all hepatitis A cases reported in Switzerland. The actual incidence of hepatitis A in travelers to countries of high or intermediate risk of transmission was 3.0-11.0 per 100,000 person-months abroad for all travelers and 6.0-28.0 per 100,000 for those presumed to be nonimmune. The actual proportion of those visiting friends and relatives among patients with hepatitis A has increased to 28.2%, with children aged 0-14 years predominating. Reductions in the incidence by hepatitis A vaccination were estimated to vary between 35.0% and 61.8% for different destinations. CONCLUSIONS: The risk of hepatitis A virus infections has decreased by a factor of 10-50-fold over time, compared with findings from older studies. The risk, however, remains very considerable at many destinations, including frequently visited places, such as Mexico. Children of immigrants are a high-risk population. Strategies are needed to reach those at highest risk.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Date:15 February 2006
Deposited On:13 May 2009 12:07
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:13
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN:1058-4838
Additional Information:© 2006 by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1086/499816
Official URL:http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/499816
PubMed ID:16421793

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