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Harefuah. 2000 Feb 1;138(3):177-80, 272.

[Introduction of routine hepatitis A immunization in Israel--the first in the world].

[Article in Hebrew]

Author information

  • 1Dept. of Epidemiology and Public Health Services, Israel Ministry of Health, Jerusalem.


Notification of hepatitis A, which is endemic in Israel, has been compulsory since the establishment of the State. From 1992-98 an average of 2,600 cases were reported annually. Many infections are asymptomatic and mild, especially in children. In general, severity increases with age; in Western countries the case fatality rate is 1.5/1,000 among children less than 5 years old and 27/1,000 among those over 50. Until 1987 incidence in Israel was higher in Jews than in non-Jews, but since 1988 incidence has been about 50% higher in non-Jews. Among Jews highest age specific rates shifted from children 1-4 years old to children 5-9 years old in 1970, and in non-Jews in 1989. Improved sanitary conditions and personal hygiene have reduced very early childhood exposure and hence increased the proportion of susceptible older children and adults, in whom symptomatic disease is more prevalent. Israel is the first country in the world to include hepatitis A vaccine in its routine immunization schedule. The vaccine is given in 2 doses: at 18 months and 24-30 months of age, and there will be epidemiologic and serologic follow-up. A significant decrease in hepatitis A morbidity is expected in small children within 5 years. The percentage of reported cases in older children and in adults is expected to increase, although the absolute incidence among these groups will decrease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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