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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1537-1541

Investigating a community wide outbreak of hepatitis A in Kerala, India

Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. T T. Carmel Regeela Mainu
Thekkeveetil, Kolarikkal Road, South Chittoor Ferry, Ernakulam - 682 027, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_127_18

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Background: There was an outbreak of acute hepatitis in Nellikuzhy panchayat of Kothamangalam taluk, Ernakulam district, Kerala, during November and early December 2016. Objective of this study is to describe the epidemiological features of the outbreak and to identify the probable source. Materials and Methods: The outbreak was defined in terms of time, place, and person. A hypothesis was generated and tested using a case–control study. Cases were selected by simple random sampling from the line list and controls were age-matched neighborhood individuals without any history of jaundice. Chi-square test, univariate analysis, and multi-variate logistic regression analyses were done to identify the probable risk factors. Results: Around 223 hepatitis A cases were identified. Attack rate was found to be highest among the age group of 16-30 years at 1.44% and was eight times higher among males. Epidemic curve suggested a point source outbreak possibly from exposure to food or water from a newly opened hotel in the area. The case–control study confirmed the hypothesis with a statistically significant association between cases and history of exposure to food from the hotel [OR 120; 95% CI 14.6–996.2; P value < 0.001]. Conclusion: Observations and results of the case–control study revealed that the probable source of the Hepatitis A outbreak at Nellikuzhy panchayat was a hotel. The study findings also add evidences to the changing epidemiological pattern of hepatitis A in Kerala, and warrant the necessity to enforce food safety rules in the State.

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