DURING OCTOBER, 283 people in Slovakia contracted the hepatitis type A virus. This was only 100 fewer than during the whole of 2007. Since the beginning of 2008, more than 540 people have been hit by this infectious disease, the SITA newswire wrote.
Experts expect the number of people contracting hepatitis A to continue increasing. An epidemic in the Czech Republic, a popular destination for Slovaks, also represents an increased risk.
Moreover, as Jarmila Petrináčová, the head of the Department of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases at the Bratislava Regional Public Health Office said at a press conference on November 4, young people studying in Czech towns will return to home for Christmas.
“If they are in the incubation period, which lasts between 15 and 50 days, they could very easily transmit hepatitis A here,” said Petrináčová.
The biggest risk is faced by the Bratislava Region, in which the hepatitis A epidemic occurs every sixth year. The last was in 2003 and the next one is expected now.
The Košice and Prešov regions in particular report a consistently high incidence of the disease. In other areas, the interval between epidemics is between three and six years.
The longer the interval between epidemics, the higher the number of patients who tend to contract the disease during outbreaks. This is because populations which have previously been exposed to the virus normally develop resistance to the disease.
The highest incidence of the hepatitis A, which affects the liver, is among children 1 to 4 and then 5 to 9 years of age.
10. Nov 2008 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports