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Arch Hellen Med, 22(5), September-October 2005, 493-498


The seroprevalence of hepatitis A in Northern Greece

1Department of Internal Medicine,
Department of Bacteriology, Infectious Diseases Hospital of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

OBJECTIVE To estimate the prevalence of hepatitis A among working people of Greek and non-Greek nationality who live in the area of Thessaloniki.

METHOD Antibodies to hepatitis A virus (total anti-HAV) were determined in sera from 1077 working people (405 men), aged 15-69 years, 739 of whom were born in Greece and 338 were of non-Greek origin. These people had attended the hospital for a health certificate. Demographic data were recorded, including where they grew up and their educational level.

RESULTS The overall anti-HAV prevalence in Greeks was 25%, and in non-Greeks 66%. The prevalence of anti-HAV in the different age groups of the Greek population was (a) 14-20 years 6%; (b) 21-30 years 8%; (c) 31-40 years 27%; (d) 41-50% years 73%; (e) >50 years 94%. The prevalence of anti-HAV in the foreign population was high even among young people (42% in the 14-20 year group). Concerning the educational level, the anti-HAV prevalence of both groups (Greeks and non-Greeks) was lower among individuals with a university diploma than among the others. Concerning the place where they spent their childhood, the anti-HAV prevalence among people from the prefecture of Thessaloniki was 18%, while the prevalence from the other prefectures was 39%. The prevalence of people who grew up in Georgia and Armenia was 80%, of those from other countries of the former Soviet Union 57%, from Albania 93%, from other Balkan countries 34% and from all other 39%.

CONCLUSIONS The prevalence of anti-HAV in the Greek population in the Thessaloniki area is low among people aged <40 years, while among older people it develops a steep increase. The prevalence among non-Greeks is very high, even at younger ages.

Key words: Greeks, Hepatitis A, Non-Greeks.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine