Clin Mol Hepatol.  2017 Sep;23(3):196-204. 10.3350/cmh.2017.0034.

Current status and strategies for the control of viral hepatitis A in Korea

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Sanggye Paik Hospital, Inje University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Hepatitis A virus is one of the most frequent causes of foodborne infection, which is closely associated with sanitary conditions and hygienic practices. The clinical spectrum of acute hepatitis A is wide, ranging from mild case without any noticeable symptoms to severe case with acute liver failure leading to mortality. The severity and outcome are highly correlated with age at infection. In developing countries, most people are infected in early childhood without significant symptom. Ironically, in area where sanitary condition has improved rapidly, adults who do not have immunity for viral hepatitis A (VH-A) in early childhood is accumulating. Adults without immunity are exposed to risks of symptomatic disease and large outbreaks in society. In Korea, where hygiene has improved rapidly, acute hepatitis A is a significant health burden that needs to be managed with nationwide health policy. The incidence of symptomatic VH-A has increased since 2000 and peaked in 2009. Korea has designated hepatitis A as a group 1 nationally notifiable infectious disease in 2001. Since 2001, mandatory surveillance system has been established to detect every single case of acute hepatitis A. Universal, nationwide vaccination program for newborns was introduced in 2015. In this review, we will present the current epidemiologic status of viral hepatitis A, and evaluate the effectiveness of the current nationwide strategies for the control of viral hepatitis A in Korea. Furthermore, we presented some action proposals that can help eliminate viral hepatitis A, which is a significant health burden in Korea.


Hepatitis A; Vaccination; Strategy; Korea
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