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3k.2 How common is hepatitis A?




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This article is from the Childhood Vaccinations FAQ, by Lynn Gazis-Sax lynng@alsirat.com with numerous contributions by others.

3k.2 How common is hepatitis A?

During the past several decades, the incidence of hepatitis A in the
U.S. has been cyclic, with nationwide epidemics occurring every 10-15
years; the last occurred in l989. Between epidemics, hepatitis A
continues to occur at relatively high levels. Nationally, CDC
estimates that around 75,000 cases occur annually. Children play an
important role in HAV transmission, with highest rates among those
aged 5-14 years. Rates are substantially higher, in the Western US
states than in other US regions. The highest rates of hepatitis A are
among children 5-14 years of age. In the US, 33% of the population has
evidence of prior hepatitis A infection, as determined by a survey
conducted from 1988-1991 (reported in the ACIP recommendation for
hepatitis A). Prevalence is generally higher among Native Americans
and Mexican Americans. Hepatitis A is the most common vaccine
preventable illness among travelers. It can be avoided by avoiding
contaminated food and drink, but many travelers succumb to temptation,
assume food at hotels is safe, buy from street vendors, etc. Incidence
is 1.6 per 1000 person-months of travel among travelers to developing
countries (including those who stay in luxury hotels), and 20 per 1000
among backpackers and others who eat and drink in poor hygienic
conditions. Incidence is 0.05 to 0.10 per 1000 person-months of travel
in Southern Europe. (JAMA Sept 21, 1994 p. 885)

 

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