Hepatitis A seroprevalence in children and adults in Kiev City, Ukraine


Dr Anvar Rasuli, Sanofi Pasteur, 2 av. Pont Pasteur, 69367 Lyon cedex 07, France. E-mail: Anvar.Rassouli@sanofipasteur.com


Summary.  Ukraine is a zone of moderate hepatitis A endemicity. The changing epidemiology of the disease because of improved hygiene has shifted the burden of Hepatitis A to older age groups where the disease is more severe. Outbreaks have also become more common as more of the population has become susceptible to hepatitis A virus (HAV). To help guide decisions regarding use of hepatitis A vaccine in Ukraine, we examined the presence of antibody to HAV (anti-HAV) in 1001 persons aged 1 to 85 years, visiting four municipal healthcare centres in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. Overall, the anti-HAV prevalence was 31.9%. Anti-HAV seropositivity increased with age from 9.2% among children aged 1–5 years to 81.7% among persons over 50 years, but less than 50% of subjects less than 50 years were HAV seropositive. No children under 2 years were seropositive. HAV seropositivity was twice as high in children aged 5–11 years old in the low socio-economic status group (income less than 150 US$ per family member per month) than in the middle/high group (11.1% compared to 6.3%) but this disparity disappeared by adolescence. The prevalence of anti-HAV antibodies in adults was not different with respect to district of residence within the city. Considering the proportion of HAV seronegative subjects in all age groups under 50 years, routine vaccination against HAV of children aged 1–2 years old would appear to be an effective schedule for hepatitis A prophylaxis in Kiev.