Outbreak of Hepatitis A associated with Water Supply, Thailand

Ruchusatsawat K, Wongpiyabovorn J, Kawidam C, Thiemsing L, Sangkitporn S, Yoshizaki S, Tatsumi M, Takeda N, Ishii K. An Outbreak of Acute Hepatitis Caused by Genotype IB Hepatitis A Viruses Contaminating the Water Supply in Thailand. Intervirology. 2017 Feb 17;59(4):197-203. doi: 10.1159/000455856.

BACKGROUND: In 2000, an outbreak of acute hepatitis A was reported in a province adjacent to Bangkok, Thailand.

AIMS: To investigate the cause of the 2000 hepatitis A outbreaks in Thailand using molecular epidemiological analysis.

METHODS: Serum and stool specimens were collected from patients who were clinically diagnosed with acute viral hepatitis. Water samples from drinking water and deep-drilled wells were also collected. These specimens were subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and sequencing of the VP1/2A region of the hepatitis A virus (HAV) genome. The entire genome sequence of one of the fecal specimens was determined and phylogenetically analyzed with those of known HAV sequences.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Eleven of 24 fecal specimens collected from acute viral hepatitis patients were positive as determined by semi- nested reverse transcription PCR targeting the VP1/2A region of HAV. The nucleotide sequence of these samples had an identical genotype IB sequence, suggesting that the same causative agent was present. The complete nucleotide sequence derived from one of the samples indicated that the Thai genotype IB strain should be classified in a unique phylogenetic cluster. The analysis using an adjusted odds ratio showed that the consumption of groundwater was the most likely risk factor associated with the disease.

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