Hepatitis A: seroprevalence and associated factors among schoolchildren of São Luís (MA), Brazil.
ABSTRACT To estimate the prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis A virus (antiVHA-IgG) in children aged 7-14 years from public and private schools, and to identify demographic, socioeconomic and sanitation factors associated with the prevalence of antiVHA-IgG.
Seroepidemiological study for the detection of IgG antiVHA. It was conducted from April 2002 to April 2004 with 462 elementary school students from São Luis, ranging from 7 to 14-years of age. Thirty schools randomly selected took part in the study, with a probability proportional to the number of students enrolled; 23 schools were public and 7 were private. Data was obtained through a structured questionnaire. In order to identify the variables independently associated with IgG antiVHA, the Poisson multiple regression analysis was performed, estimating the adjusted PRs and their 95% confidence intervals. The variables associated with the prevalence of hepatitis A with p < 0 were the only ones that remained in the final model. The level of significance of 0.05 (α = 0.05) was adopted.
The prevalence of antiVHA-IgG was 64%, 71.5% in public and 36.5% in private schools. After multivariate analysis, age 11 to 14 years, more than one person per bedroom, and less than two bathrooms per household were associated with a higher prevalence of antiVHA-IgG. Higher parental education was associated with lower prevalence of antiVHA-IgG.
Hepatitis A is endemic among schoolchildren in São Luís. The prevalence rate was similar to those found in other regions of the country with similar socio-economic and health conditions. Factors historically associated with a higher prevalence of hepatitis A were also identified in this population.