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Title: Should aboriginals in the "top end" of the Northern Territory be vaccinated against hepatitis A?
Authors: Bowden, F J
Currie, B J
Miller, N C
Locarnini, S A
Krause, V L
Citation: Med J Aust. 1994 Sep 19;161(6):372-3.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To determine the level of immunity to hepatitis A virus infection in rural Australian Aboriginal populations in the "Top End" of the Northern Territory. METHODS: A total of 344 sera, for which details of donors' age, sex and domicile were available, were collected and tested for hepatitis A total antibody in a delinked seroprevalence study. RESULTS: Overall, 337/344 samples (97.97%) tested positive for hepatitis A total antibodies--18/20 samples (90%) in the 1-5 year age group; 85/88 (96.6%) in the 6-10 year age group; 98/98 (100%) in the 11-15 year age group; 32/33 (97.0%) in the 16-20 year age group and 104/105 (99%) in the older than 20 year age group. CONCLUSION: Hepatitis A is hyperendemic in the rural Aboriginal communities studied and the virus is acquired predominantly in the first five years of life. Symptomatic hepatitis A infection is uncommon in this population. We suggest that hepatitis A vaccination for rural Aboriginal children is not indicated as it would not reduce clinical disease rates and may produce a cohort whose immunity could decrease over the following 10 years. Although vaccination is appropriate for non-immune individuals working in remote communities, emphasis must be placed on the inequities in health infrastructure and education underlying the high transmission rates in Aboriginal children.
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Journal title: The Medical journal of Australia
Volume: 161
Pages: 372-3
Publication Date: 1994-09-19
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:(a) NT Health Research Collection

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