Molecular epidemiology of hepatitis A virus in a group of Portuguese citizens living in Lisbon area

L. Rodrigues, A. Pista, A. Oliveira, I. Água-Doce, C. Manita, M. T. Paixão

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11 Scopus citations


Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is the most important cause of acute infectious hepatitis worldwide. In Portugal, due to improvements in sanitation epidemic outbreaks of HAV infection have become less frequent. This report is the first, to our knowledge that characterized HAV in Portugal. For the detection and molecular characterization of HAV cases in a group of Portuguese individuals in the Lisbon area, 31 serum samples were tested: 8 from symptomatic children from an acute hepatitis A outbreak in a Roma (Gipsies) community (2004-2005), and 22 from patients with acute HAV from sporadiccases (2005-2006). A sample of CSF involved in a case of meningitis was also included. IgM anti-HAV detection and nested reverse transcription (RT-PCR), with primers located at the VP1-P2a region, was undertaken to detect HAV genome. In positive samples, molecular characterization was followed by phylogenetic analysis. All samples (n = 31) were positive for IgM anti-HAV. HAV RNA was found in 96.7% of cases. All isolates were classified as genotype I: 22 belonged to sub-genotype IA (73.3%), and 8 to sub-genotype IB (26.7%). All strains obtained from an acute HAV outbreak had sub-genotype IA, in which seven isolates (87.5%) had identical sequences. In HAV sporadic cases sub-genotypes IA and IB were identified, and this may reflect the co-circulation of these two sub-genotypes in Portugal. Molecular epidemiology of HAV infection in this group of Portuguese appears to be similar to other European countries. HAV phylogenetic studies can provide important information for the design of appropriate public health measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-487
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • HAV
  • Phylogenetic analysis
  • Sub-genotype IA
  • Sub-genotype IB
  • VP1-P2a junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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