Prevalence of enteric hepatitis A and E viruses in the Mekong River delta region of Vietnam.
Hau CH., Hien TT., Tien NT., Khiem HB., Sac PK., Nhung VT., Larasati RP., Laras K., Putri MP., Doss R., Hyams KC., Corwin AL.
A study of antibody prevalence for hepatitis A virus (HAV) and hepatitis E virus (HEV) was carried out in southwestern Vietnam in an area adjacent to a known focus of epidemic HEV transmission. The purpose of this investigation was first to provide a prevalence measure of hepatitis infections, and second to determine the outbreak potential of HEV as a function of the susceptible population. Blood specimens collected from 646 persons in randomly selected village hamlets were examined by an ELISA for anti-HEV IgG and anti-HAV IgG. The prevalences of anti-HEV IgG and anti-HAV IgG were 9% and 97%, respectively. There was a significant increase (P < 0.01) in age-specific anti-HEV IgG. A notable increase in anti-HAV IgG prevalence (P < 0.0001) occurred between child populations 0-4 (64%) and 5-9 (95%) years of age. No evidence of familial clustering of anti-HEV IgG-positive individuals was detected, and household crowding was not associated with the spread of HEV. Boiling of water was found to be of protective value against HEV transmission. A relatively low prevalence of anti-HEV indicates considerable HEV outbreak potential, against a background of 1) poor, water-related hygiene/sanitation, 2) dependence on a (likely human/animal waste)-contaminated Mekong riverine system, and 3) periodic river flooding.