Epidemiological and genetic analyses of a diffuse outbreak of hepatitis A in Japan, 2010

Koji Ishii, Tomoko Kiyohara, Sayaka Yoshizaki, Takaji Wakita, Tomoe Shimada, Naomi Nakamura, Kazutoshi Nakashima, Yuki Tada, Mamoru Noda

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is still one of the most common causative agents of acute hepatitis in Japan. Although a relatively small number of annual acute hepatitis A cases (approximately 100-150, 0.78-1.17 per million) were recently reported, a larger number of cases (346, 2.71 per million) were reported in 2010. Objectives: To investigate the causes of the 2010 HAV resurgence in Japan by using molecular epidemiological and genetic analyses. Study design: HAV specimens were obtained from 61 cases from 22 different prefectures. These viral specimens were genotyped by PCR amplification and sequencing of the VP1/2A region of HAV genome. Results: Phylogenetic analysis revealed that 61 HAV strains could be divided into three genotypes: IA (44 cases), IB (1 case) and IIIA (16 cases). The IA genotype consisted of two genomic sub-lineages. The sequences of one of the two IA sub-lineages (corresponding to 31 cases) were very similar, 26 of these 31 isolates had 100% identity. The other IA sub-lineage corresponded to strains endemic to Japan. The sequences of Japanese IIIA strains were similar to those of strains that caused a large epidemic in the Republic of Korea from 2007 to 2009. Conclusions: The resurgence of HAV in 2010 can be attributed to importation of two newly emerged HAV genotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-224
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Mar


  • Diffuse outbreak
  • Genotype
  • Hepatitis A virus
  • Phylogenetic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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