Recent outbreak of hepatitis A in Korea is clearly related to the epidemiological shift of hepatitis A virus (HAV). However, nationwide seroprevalence data have been limited. This study estimated the nationwide, age- and area-adjusted anti-HAV prevalence from 2005 to 2009.
Retrospective analysis of the results of total anti-HAV test in 25,140 cases which were requested by 1,699 medical institutions throughout the nation to Seoul Clinical Laboratory from Jan. 1 2005 to Dec. 31 2009 was performed. The estimated seroprevalence was adjusted by area and age of the standard population based on the 2005 Census data from Korea National Statistical Office.
The area-adjusted anti-HAV prevalence in the children younger than 10 years were 33.4% in 2005 and 69.9% in 2009. The most susceptible age groups to HAV infection during the last 5 years were teenagers and the young adults in their age of twenties. The area-adjusted seroprevalence in 2009 were 11.9% in the age group of 20-29 years, 23.4% in the age group of 10-19 years, 48.4% in the age group of 30-39 years. The population in 40-49 years showed geographically different seroprevalence with the lowest rate in Seoul (80%).
The most susceptible age group to HAV infection is 10-29 years, while the young children less than 10 years showed about 70% seropositivity. The changing seroepidemiology should be monitored continuously for the proper vaccination and patient care.