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Hepatitis A circulation in the EU/EEA decreased between 1975 and 2014 – susceptibility increased

28 Jul 2016
This ECDC technical report provides a comprehensive picture of Hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection epidemiology in the EU/EEA between 1975 and 2014. It demonstrates that the HAV circulation has decreased steadily in the last four decades reaching a stable trend by 2010. Both seroprevalence and reported incidence data show this decline, although with notable differences at national and sub-regional level. This decreasing trend could be due to several factors such as improved hygiene, sanitation, socio-economic conditions and increased availability of vaccines for at-risk groups.
The report indicates that a progressively growing part of EU/EEA population has become susceptible to HAV infection, since there is a decline in seroprevalence, and shows that population susceptibility, particularly in adults, serves as a good indicator for assessing optimal prevention options for this disease. Important knowledge gaps about e.g. strengthening laboratory-based surveillance through molecular typing and data available on coverage of HAV vaccination are also outlined in the report. These gaps should be addressed when designing specific prevention and control measures, such as vaccination strategies, to further decrease HAV circulation in the EU/EEA.
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