Distribution of antibody to hepatitis a antigen in urban adult populations

N Engl J Med. 1976 Sep 30;295(14):755-9. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197609302951404.


To investigate the prevalence and distribution of antibody to hepatitis A antigen we tested 947 randomly selected people in the Greater New York City area; 45 per cent were antigen positive, as determined by the immune adherence method. Antibody was detected two to three times more frequently in lower social classes (72 to 80 per cent) than in middle and upper-middle classes (18 to 30 per cent). The rate of antibody detection was strongly correlated with age; the prevalence gradually increased throughout adulthood and reached its peak level in people 50 years of age and older. Those with serologic evidence of past exposure to hepatitis B virus were significantly more often antibody positive than those without such evidence (61 vs. 40 per cent; P less than 0.001). Very few of the positive subjects had had hepatitis. The prevalence of this antibody varies among different population groups, increases with age, decreases with rise in socioeconomic status, is independent on sex and race, and correlates with serologic evidence of hepatitis B virus infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Antibodies / analysis*
  • Asians
  • Blacks
  • Education
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / analysis*
  • Hepatitis B virus / immunology
  • Hepatovirus / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Class
  • Time Factors
  • Urban Population*
  • Whites


  • Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies