An outbreak of hepatitis A in Southern Italy: the case for vaccinating food handlers

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Abstract

SUMMARY

We report an outbreak of hepatitis A that occurred in the city of Bari (Apulian region) in June 2002. Overall, 26 cases were observed over a 4-week period. These were traced back to the index case, a food handler who prepared various food products for sale over the counter at a store in the district (OR 5.36, CI 95% 1.58–19.25). Laboratory investigations confirmed that the outbreak was due to a point source and identified a new genotype IB variant. There is a possible indication for administration of hepatitis A vaccine to food handlers, although further evidence of an acceptable cost-benefit ratio needs to be ascertained.

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