Prevalence of infections by hepatitis A, B, C and E viruses in two different socioeconomic groups of children from Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Giuseppe M. Gandolfo, Giovanni M. Ferri, Laura Conti, Anna Antenucci, Rosalia Marrone, Anna M. Frasca, Gaetano Vitelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background ang objectives: The epidemiology of hepatitis A, E, B and C was analyzed in 1,393 children living in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. They were distributed in two groups according to the social condition. Materials and method: 1,393 children were selected from two different schools: one attended by children belonging to a high social class of the town (group A), and the other school attended by children belonging to the poorest social class (group B). Blood samples were drawn by a team of physicians from Rome University La Sapienza. Serum antibodies against hepatitis A, B, C and E virus, and the hepatitis B surface antigen were evaluated by immunometric methods. The significance was evaluated using the χ2 test. Results: Antibodies against hepatitis A virus were detected in 82% of examined children, with a significant difference between the two groups (56.3% vs 94.8%). The incidence of anti-HBc antibodies increased with age, so the infection is acquired prevalently in adolescence with a significant difference between both groups (1.1% vs 3.8%). The same phenomenon was observed with anti-HCV antibodies (4.7% positivity only in group B). Serum antibodies against hepatitis E virus were observed in 1.7% cases. Conclusions: In Bolivia, as in other developing countries, viral hepatitis represents a serious burden for public health. Spreading of viral hepatitis can be controlled upon improving hygienic conditions and customs. Moreover, a vaccination plan against hepatitis A and B virus is necessary for the population living in endemic areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-727
Number of pages3
JournalMedicina Clinica
Volume120
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 24 2003

Keywords

  • Bolivia
  • Epidemiology
  • Viral hepatitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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