Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2001  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 95-102

Serological profile of sporadic acute viral hepatitis in an area of hyper-endemic hepatitis B virus infection


1 Department of Medicine, Gizan Central Hospital, Saudi Arabia
2 Hepatitis Research Unit, Macferlene Bumet Centre Fiarfield, Victoria, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Ayobanji Ayoola
Department of Medicine, King Fahad Central Hospital, P. 0. Box 235, Abu Arish
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 19861776

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Background: Located in the south western part of Saudi Arabia, the Gizan region is largely a rural community in which hepatitis B and chronic liver disease including hepatocellular carcinoma are highly prevalent. Aim of study: To determine the relative frequencies of acute hepatitis A, B, C and E in acute viral hepatitis in an area of hyperendemic hepatitis B infection. Methods and materials: In a prospective study 246 consecutive patients (179 males and 67 females) diagnosed in a 2-year period were tested for markers of Hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and hepatitis E virus (HEV). Results: Of the patients tested, 131 (53.3%) were children (<10 years), and 42 (17%) were 11 - 20 years in age. Ig M anti -HAV, IgM anti-HBV, anti- HCV and IgM anti-HEV were positive in 37%, 19.1%, 3.7% and 13.7% respectively. Markers of these viruses were absent in 24.4%. Among 131 children (< 10 years) the commonest cause of AVH was HAV occurring in 57.3% of the cases. In adults (> 21 years) HBV was found in 35.6% and IgM anti -HAV was detected in only 6.8%. In contrast to the age- related decline in the frequency of acute HA, the proportion of acute HE were similar in all age groups (13.7% in children, 16.7% in adolescents and 11.0% in adults). Conclusion: The study indicated that HAV is still a common cause of AVH particularly among children in Gizan. Acute 1-113 had a low occurrence among the children, evidently as a consequence of the integration of HB vaccine into the Saudi Arabian national EPI, 10 years ago. With the availability of combined HB and HA vaccines, It should be possible to graft the vaccination against HAV on to the existing program in Saudi Arabia. Affecting 13.4% of the group studied, sporadic HEV constitute a significant cause of AVH in this population. Until HEV vaccine becomes widely available, its prevention would be mainly by the improvement of socio - economic and hygienic standards of the population.


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