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Decline in the exposure to hepatitis A and B infections in children in Naples, Italy.

Authors
  • D'Argenio, P
  • Esposito, D
  • Mele, A
  • Ortolani, G
  • Adamo, B
  • Rapicetta, M
  • Forte, P
  • Pisani, A
  • Soldo, L
  • Sarrecchia, B
Type
Published Article
Journal
Public Health
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Sep 01, 1989
Volume
103
Issue
5
Pages
385–389
Identifiers
PMID: 2798751
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

In May 1988, the hepatitis A antibody (anti-HAV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) markers were studied by radioimmunoassay in 484 apparently healthy children between the ages of 7 and 12, attending a primary school in Naples, Italy. The overall anti-HAV prevalence was 11.2%, increasing from 5.2 in 7-year-old children to 28.2% in children between the ages of 11 and 12 years old. The overall prevalence of the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and of other HBV markers were 0.8 and 6.8 respectively. Compared with a similar previous study conducted in Naples in 1980, the results show a significant reduction in the prevalence of anti-HAV in each of the two age-groups (P less than 0.01), in the prevalence of any HBV marker in the 11 to 12-year-old group, as well as in the total population (P less than 0.05). The findings of the present study indicate that today, children in Naples are less exposed to the hepatitis A virus than in the past, most likely because of improvements in both the socioeconomic conditions and in health education during recent years. These same reasons, as well as decreased family size and a lower prevalence of HBeAg among HBsAg carriers could explain the decline, although to a lesser degree, of exposure to HBV infection.

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