Hepatitis A in Nelson Mandela Bay and Sarah Baartman districts, Eastern Cape, South Africa
CITATION: Newman, H., et al. 2018. Hepatitis A in Nelson Mandela Bay and Sarah Baartman districts, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases, 33(5):1-4, doi:10.4102/sajid.v33i5.148.
The original publication is available at https://sajid.co.za
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.