Epidemiological pattern and mortality rates for hepatitis A in Brazil, 1980-2002 - A Review|
Cláudia L Vitral; Ana Maria C Gaspar & Francisco José D Souto
The prevalence of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection is high in developing countries, in which low standards of sanitation promote the transmission of the virus. In Latin America, which is considered an area of high HAV endemicity, most HAV-positive individuals are infected in early childhood. However, recent studies have shown that prevalence rates are decreasing. Herein, we review the data on HAV prevalence and outbreaks available in scientific databases. We also use official government data in order to evaluate mortality rates in Brazil over the last two decades. Studies conducted in the northernmost regions of Brazil have indicated that, although improved hygiene has led to a reduction in childhood exposure to HAV, the greatest exposure still occurs early in life. In the Southeastern region, the persistence of circulating HAV has generated outbreaks among individuals of low socioeconomic status, despite adequate sanitation. Nationwide, hepatitis A mortality rates declined progressively from 1980 to 2002. During that period, mortality rates in the Northern region consistently exceeded the mean national rate and those for other regions. Excluding the North, the rates in all regions were comparable. Nevertheless, the trend toward decline observed in the South was paralleled by a similar trend in the North.
hepatitis A virus - hepatitis A/epidemiology - hepatitis A/mortality - Brazil