A 1-year study of the epidemiology of hepatitis A virus in Tunisia

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2007 Jan;13(1):25-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2006.01588.x.


This 1-year (September 2000 to August 2001) prospective study investigated the presence of hepatitis A virus (HAV) in the population of Monastir, Tunisia (86 serum samples), in the influents and effluents of two wastewater treatment plants, and in shellfish harvested in the coastal areas of Monastir, Bizerte and Sfax (January 2001 to May 2001). The virus was detected by RT-PCR using primers targeted at the VP3-VP1 region. An epidemic of HAV infection was observed during the winter months, with a peak in January. The presence of the virus was relatively constant in the influents and effluents of the wastewater treatment plants, and the virus was found in shellfish from the Monastir area during the months of January and February. The genotype IA strain was recovered most frequently from human serum and wastewater samples. The observation that the peak of the epidemic was during the winter months suggests that transmission of HAV is related to climatic factors and, presumably, to shellfish consumption.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Base Sequence
  • Capsid Proteins / genetics
  • Child
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis A / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis A Antibodies / blood*
  • Hepatitis A virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis A virus / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Seasons
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Shellfish / virology
  • Tunisia / epidemiology
  • Viral Structural Proteins / genetics
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid
  • Water Microbiology
  • Water Purification


  • Capsid Proteins
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Hepatitis A Antibodies
  • Peptide Fragments
  • VP1 protein, hepatitis A virus
  • VP3 peptide (110-121), hepatitis A virus
  • Viral Structural Proteins