Background Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is transmitted by the fecal-oral route, and the epidemiology of HAV is associated with hygiene and socioeconomic status. However, due to improvements in living conditions, there is an epidemiological shift in HAV infection.
Methods In this study, we investigated the seropositivity for HAV in children aged between 2 and 18 years. In addition, we compared the results with previously reported seropositivity data from the same center in Uskudar, Istanbul, Turkey, from 1996.
Results The mean age of the 400 children was 7.9±3.7 years (range: 2–18). Of the 400 serum samples collected, all were tested for anti-HAV IgG, and 50 (12.5%) were positive. The rates of anti-HAV seropositivity within the age groups of 2-< 6, 6-< 10 and 10–18 years were determined. The seropositivity increased with increasing age: 11.5% in the 2- to < 6-year-old group and 13.2% in the 10- to 18-year-old group.
Conclusions There was a significant decline in the overall seropositivity for anti-HAV between 1996 and 2011 (p<0.001), and the pediatric age group has a high risk of HAV infection.
In 1996, the overall seropositivity was 41.3%. In the 1996 study, the seropositivity was 35.2% in 2- to < 6-year-old age group, 35.3% in the 6- to < 10-year-old age group and 54.3% in children older than 10 years. Given the serological shift over time, greater susceptibility and a persistent risk of exposure to HAV suggest that outbreaks are possible.