An epidemic of hepatitis a in an institution for young children

Nicolaos C. Tassopoulos, Anastasia Roumeliotou-karayannis, Marina Sakka, John Ticehurst, Kathy Mihalik, Theodora Stephanou, Robert H. Purcell, George Papaevangelou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A common-source epidemic of hepatitis A occurred in an Athenian institution boarding 38 children (mean age 4.8 years). All children were examined, and blood was drawn from each at the onset of the study and repeatedly during the next three months. Only one child (2.6%) was initially immune to hepatitis A virus as a result of prior infection. The attack rate (62.2%) and the ratio of icteric to anicteric cases (1:1.3) were high despite the administration of immunoglobulin (IG). Assays for anti-HAV IgM and a rising titer of anti-HAV IgG identified 19 (82.6%) and 22 (95.7%) of the 23 hepatitis A infections, respectively. One case (4.3%) was detected only by the presence of hepatitis A virus antigen and hepatitis A virus RNA in a focal specimen, but these assays were otherwise marginally useful in this study. Nevertheless, the use of all available tests for the detection of hepatitis A virus is mandatory for the most accurate estimation of an epidemic of hepatitis A. Prompt administration of immunoglobulln had no effect on the number of clinical cases that were in the late incubation period, but it may have diminished the clinical expression of the infection and thus made diagnosis of infection more difficult.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-307
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Antigens
  • Disease outbreaks
  • Hepatitis A virus
  • RNA
  • Viral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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