Original Research

Hepatitis A in Nelson Mandela Bay and Sarah Baartman districts, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Howard Newman, Donald Tshabalala, Guillermo A. Pulido Estrada, Romuald Kom Nguetchueng
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 33, No 5 | a148 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v33i5.148 | © 2019 Howard Newman, Donald Tshabalala, Guillermo A. Pulido Estrada, Romuald Kom Nguetchueng | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2019 | Published: 25 October 2018

About the author(s)

Howard Newman, Department of Virology, National Health Laboratory Service, Port Elizabeth; Department of Pathology, Division of Medical Virology, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Donald Tshabalala, Department of Paediatrics, Nelson Mandela Central Hospital and Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa
Guillermo A. Pulido Estrada, Department of Public Health, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa
Romuald Kom Nguetchueng, Outbreak Response Team, Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape Department of Health, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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Abstract

Background: Hepatitis A is the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis, not only in South Africa, but in many other countries. In South Africa, there is a lack of data regarding the true incidence of hepatitis A, and even fewer data regarding hepatitis A cases requiring hospitalisation. In the Eastern Cape province of South Africa in particular, there is a paucity of published data that could be used to guide public health officials. An analysis of all the laboratory-confirmed cases in the area over a period of time may help to better describe the extent of the problem.
Methods: This was a retrospective study analysing the laboratory-confirmed cases of hepatitis A in the Nelson Mandela Bay and Sarah Baartman districts of the Eastern Cape province in South Africa for the three-year period from 2015 to 2017.
Results: A total of 194 laboratory-confirmed cases of hepatitis A were identified for the three-year period from 2015 to 2017. Of these, 138 (71%) cases were children 16 years old or younger, with adults accounting for 56 cases (29%). There was no overall seasonality associated with laboratory-confirmed cases of hepatitis A.
Conclusions: Hepatitis A is a serious problem in the Eastern Cape region. More studies are needed to determine the exact cause of the continuing epidemic.


Keywords

acute hepatitis A; Eastern Cape; hospitalisation rates

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