A family cluster of hepatitis A virus due to an uncommon IA strain circulating in Campania (southern Italy), not associated with raw shellfish or berries: a wake-up call to implement vaccination against hepatitis A?

Abstract

Hepatitis A virus is a widely occurring disease, with different prevalence rates between countries in the North and West and those in the South and East. In Italy endemicity is low/medium, but not homogeneously distributed: in the northern/central regions a large hepatitis A outbreak due to genotype IA, related to the consumption of contaminated mixed frozen berries, occurred between 2013 and 2014, whereas in southern Italian regions recurrent outbreaks of hepatitis A, due to the IB genotype, still result from consumption of raw seafood. In 2014 an uncommon genotype IA strain was isolated from five patients (2 adults and 3 children) with hepatitis A, living in the surroundings of Naples (Campania) who did not have any of the most common risk factors for hepatitis A in Italy, such as consumption of raw shellfish or frozen berries, or travel to endemic countries. Moreover, based on the analysis of viral sequences obtained, this strain differed from several others in the national database, which had been recently isolated during Italian outbreaks. This case report reinforces the need to implement both information campaigns about the prevention of hepatitis A and vaccination programmes in childhood; in addition, it would be suitable to sequence strains routinely not only during large outbreaks of hepatitis A in order to obtain a more detailed national database of HAV strains circulating in Italy.

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Cite this paper

@article{Tosone2016AFC, title={A family cluster of hepatitis A virus due to an uncommon IA strain circulating in Campania (southern Italy), not associated with raw shellfish or berries: a wake-up call to implement vaccination against hepatitis A?}, author={Grazia Tosone and Silvia Mascolo and Roberto Bruni and Stefania Taffon and Michele Equestre and Maria Elena Tosti and Anna Rita Ciccaglione and Fiorella Martucci and Alfonso Liberti and Maria Donata Iannece and Raffaele Orlando}, journal={Le infezioni in medicina : rivista periodica di eziologia, epidemiologia, diagnostica, clinica e terapia delle patologie infettive}, year={2016}, volume={24 3}, pages={230-3} }