Prevalence of hepatitis a virus in Libian children
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is the most hepatotropic. This virus is responsible for the most forms of acute and benign hepatitis although fulminant hepatic failure can occur in ≅ 1% more often in adults. It is a member of Picornaviridae family; it is a heat stable and has limited host range.
The incidence of infection by Hepatitis A virus shows regional variation being highest in developing countries. Determination of age specific Hepatitis A virus (HAV) seroprevalence and the associated risk factors would help better plan for national preventive strategies including vaccination. We carried out a cross-sectional study on 315 children from Tripoli and Gharian Cities in Libya during the years 2018-2020. The age ranges of the patients was 1 - 18 years and were from different socioeconomic status (SES) families attending teaching hospitals causality seeking medical help and check-up. The indicators of SES included employment status, residence, number of family members, source of drinking water and social status. Serum samples were collected and investigated for HAV antibodies. The data were statistically analysed. HAV antibodies were positive in 113 patients (36%) Male’s were161 (53%) while Females were 154(49%). HAV antibodies was significantly higher among children of low SES,60 % by the age of 18 years compared to children of high SES, 35% by the same age. Crowded household and parental education were significantly associated with high seropositivity and seronegativity respectively. There is significant rate of seronegativity amongst the studied population especially those from richer backgrounds making them more susceptible to severe infection in future with concomitant complications. We propose that revision of national vaccination program should be considered to include Hepatitis A vaccination.