Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers


Epidemiological changes in hepatitis A in Korea: increasing age and its effect on clinical outcomes

J. J. SHIMa1, S. O. CHINa1, C. K. LEEa1, J. Y. JANGa1 and B. H. KIMa1 c1

a1 Department of Internal Medicine, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Korea has recently experienced an increasing number of acute hepatitis A cases. We investigated the dynamics of hepatitis A and changes in the mean age of patients in a hospital in Seoul, Korea. Mean age increased consistently from 19 years in 1996 to 30 years in 2009 (P < 0·0001). Between two acute hepatitis A outbreaks in 1998–1999 and in 2008–2009, mean age increased from 23 to 30 years (P < 0·001). However, the hepatitis A clinical outcomes were similar between the outbreaks. Duration of hospital stay, creatinine level and prothrombin time did not differ. Throughout the study period, individuals born in the 1970s and 1980s comprised the largest proportion (84%) of patients. As this susceptible generation ages, the mean age of hepatitis A patients in Korea will increase consistently. However, at present, the impact of increasing age on clinical outcomes is not apparent.

(Received October 18 2011)

(Revised January 02 2012)

(Accepted January 18 2012)

(Online publication February 16 2012)

Key words

  • Age;
  • epidemiology;
  • hepatitis A;
  • Korea


c1 Author for correspondence: Dr B. H. Kim, Department of Internal Medicine, Kyung Hee University Hospital 1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-702, Korea. (Email: kimbh@khu.ac.kr)