Hepatitis A virus subgenotypes in Latvia, 2008-2021

J Infect Public Health. 2023 Sep;16(9):1462-1470. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2023.07.012. Epub 2023 Jul 29.


Background: In Latvia outbreaks of the HAV were observed between 2008 and early 2010 and again in 2017-2018. However, the risks of introducing and spreading infection still exist, as the virus spreads easily when personal hygiene is not followed.

Methods: To determine the spread of HAV subgenotypes in the territory of Latvia the VP1/P2A genomic region of HAV was amplified and sequenced for 259 case serum samples. The study carried out a molecular biological investigation and molecular epidemiological investigation. Demographic data (sex, age), disease data (hepatitis symptoms, hospitalization, vaccination) and epidemiology data (part of the outbreak, possible source of infection, recent travel) were collected. Based on the obtained sequences, the phylogenetic tree was built and analyzed for the homology and belonging to different isolated HAV clusters from other countries.

Results: From the obtained data, it was concluded that HAV subgenotype IA had 13 clusters and 12 sporadic cases, HAV subgenotype IB had eight clusters and 11 sporadic cases, HAV subgenotype IIIA had one cluster and nine sporadic cases. It was found that the sources of infection among the investigated cases were different, they were mostly associated with contact with a patient with HAV, travel, as well as between persons who inject drugs and men who have sex with men, and the prevalence of HAV similar sequences was observed in different years. It was concluded that patients with HAV subgenotype IA had the longest hospitalization duration and averaged 9.3 days, while patients with subgenotype IB - 7.3 days, subgenotype IIIA - 7.7 days. Analyzing the data on vaccination, it was found that mostly all were not vaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status.

Conclusions: All of this has led to the conclusion that the application of molecular biological methods of the HAV and a careful analysis of epidemiological data can help to better understand the ways of spreading the infection, investigate local outbreaks, detect cases of imported infection and track the recirculation of the virus.

Keywords: HAV genotypes; Hepatitis A virus (HAV); Men who have sex with men (MSM); Outbreak; Persons who inject drugs (PWID); Phylogenetic analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Drug Users*
  • Genotype
  • Hepatitis A virus* / genetics
  • Hepatitis A* / epidemiology
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Latvia / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous* / epidemiology


  • RNA, Viral