Hepatitis A epidemiology in Latin American countries: a 2020 view from a systematic literature review

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The World Health Organization recommends vaccination against hepatitis A virus (HAV) for children aged 1 year and older in areas where endemicity has shifted from high to intermediate. There are no recent comprehensive reviews of the epidemiology of HAV infection in Latin America, but seroprevalence and socioeconomic data suggest that, with improved clean water and sanitation systems, countries are transitioning to intermediate endemicity.

Areas covered

We conducted a systematic literature review of the epidemiology of HAV infection in 25 countries in the Latin American region, which included gray literature. We compiled data on HAV incidence and prevalence, including the identification of epidemiological changes observed in countries that established pediatric HAV vaccination programs.

Expert opinion

We identified 59 relevant articles, including 34 peer-reviewed seroprevalence studies (12 recent studies from Brazil), three incidence studies, and six vaccine impact studies (three from Argentina). Based on the estimated age at midpoint of population immunity in each country, most have a high-intermediate, intermediate, or low-intermediate level of HAV endemicity, suggesting that national childhood immunization may be an appropriate disease prevention strategy. However, recent data were lacking for most countries. Improved data quality and continued epidemiological surveillance are required for this region.

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Copyright © 2021 Informa UK Limited.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14760584.2020.1813575

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.