Seroprevalences of hepatitis A and E infections in Tunisia

Abstract : Objective Viral hepatitis A (HAV) and E (HEV) infections are still frequent in many regions of the world, particularly in developing countries where sanitary conditions and socioeconomic level are frequently low. In this work, we have studied seroprevalences of these two infections in Tunisian children, teenagers and young adults. Material and methods The studied population included 3357 individuals from different regions of Tunisia and distributed in three groups 1 (n = 1145), 2 (n = 707) and 3 (n = 1505) with a mean of age of 6.94, 12.84 and 20.71 years, respectively. Results Rates of HAV infection prevalence of 84.0, 90.5 and 91.7% were found within groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively. These rates are lower than those previously found in the country; thus, primary infection with HAV in Tunisia is progressively shifting to older ages, which is probably due to the improvement of sanitary conditions. Lower anti-HAV prevalences were found in costal regions as compared to the rest of the country. This difference may be due to the higher socioeconomic level of the population living in costal regions. Antibodies against HEV were assessed in individuals of group 3. A seroprevalence of 4.3% was found which indicates that, despite the absence of epidemics, the virus is circulating among the Tunisian population as sporadic cases. Conclusion The present work contributes to a better knowledge of HAV and HEV infections in Tunisia and highlights the need of the establishment of a national program for virological surveillance of hepatitis cases and of further studies to monitor changes in the epidemiology of these infections.
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D. Rezig, R. Ouneissa, L. Mhiri, S. Mejri, S. Haddad-Boubaker, et al.. Seroprevalences of hepatitis A and E infections in Tunisia. Pathologie Biologie, Elsevier Masson, 2008, 56 (3), pp.148 - 153. ⟨10.1016/j.patbio.2007.09.026⟩. ⟨pasteur-01375201⟩

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