Evaluation of hepatitis a vaccine in post-exposure prophylaxis, the Netherlands, 2004-2012

Jane Whelan, Gerard J. Sonder, Lian Bovée, Arjen Speksnijder, Anneke van den Hoek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The secondary attack rate of hepatitis A virus (HAV) among contacts of cases is up to 50%. Historically, contacts were offered immunoglobulin (IG, a human derived blood product) as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Amid safety concerns about IG, HAV vaccine is increasingly recommended instead. Public health authorities' recommendations differ, particularly for healthy contacts ≥40 years old, where vaccine efficacy data is limited. We evaluated routine use of HAV vaccine as an alternative to immunoglobulin in PEP, in those considered at low risk of severe infection in the Netherlands. Household contacts of acute HAV cases notified in Amsterdam (2004-2012) were invited ≤14 days post-exposure, for baseline anti-HAV testing and PEP according to national guidelines: immunoglobulin if at risk of severe infection, or hepatitis A vaccine if healthy and at low risk (aged <30, or, 30-50 years and vaccinated <8 days post-exposure). Incidence of laboratory confirmed secondary infection in susceptible contacts was assessed 4-8 weeks post-exposure. In a vaccinated subgroup, relative risk (RR) of secondary infection with estimated using Poisson regression. Of 547 contacts identified, 191 were susceptible to HAV. Per-protocol, 167 (87%) were vaccinated (mean:6.7 days post-exposure, standard deviation(sd)=3.3) and 24 (13%) were given immunoglobulin (mean:9.7 days post-exposure, sd=2.8). At follow-up testing, 8/112 (7%) had a laboratory confirmed infection of whom 7 were symptomatic. All secondary infections occurred in vaccinated contacts, and half were >40 years of age. In healthy contacts vaccinated per-protocol ≤8 days post-exposure, RRref. ≤15 years of secondary infection in those >40 years was 12.0 (95%CI:1.3-106.7). Timely administration of HAV vaccine in PEP was feasible and the secondary attack rate was low in those <40 years. Internationally, upper age-limits for post-exposure vaccination vary. Pending larger studies, immunoglobulin should be considered PEP of choice in people >40 years of age and those vulnerable to severe disease
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e78914
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Cite this