Vaccination against hepatitis A virus (HAV) is recommended for patients with chronic liver disease (CLD), but this has been deemed unnecessary in Korea since the immunity against HAV was almost universal in adults. However, this practice has never been reevaluated with respect to the changing incidence of adult acute hepatitis A. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 278 patients with acute hepatitis A diagnosed from January 1995 to November 2005 and prospectively tested 419 consecutive CLD patients from July to December 2005 for the presence of IgG anti-HAV. The number of patients with acute hepatitis A has markedly increased recently, and the proportion of adult patients older than 30 yr has been growing from 15.2% during 1995-1999, to 28.4% during 2000-2005 (p=0.019). Among 419 CLD patients, the seroprevalences of IgG anti-HAV were 23.1% for those between 26 and 30 yr, 64% between 31 and 35 yr, and 85.0% between 36 and 40 yr. These data demonstrate that immunity against HAV is no more universal in adult and substantial proportion of adult CLD patients are now at risk of HAV infection in Korea. Therefore, further study on seeking proper strategy of active immunization against HAV is warranted in these populations.
- Hepatitis A
- Liver disease