Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Short report
Clinical and virological features of acute hepatitis A during an ongoing outbreak among men who have sex with men in the North of France
  1. Anne Boucher1,
  2. Agnes Meybeck1,
  3. Kazali Alidjinou2,
  4. Thomas Huleux1,
  5. Nathalie Viget1,
  6. Veronique Baclet1,
  7. Michel Valette1,
  8. Isabelle Alcaraz1,
  9. Eveline Sauser3,
  10. Laurence Bocket2,
  11. Ajana Faiza1
  1. 1 Infectious Diseases Department, Dron Hospital, Tourcoing, France
  2. 2 Virology Laboratory, CHRU, Lille, France
  3. 3 Laboratory, Dron Hospital, Tourcoing, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr Agnes Meybeck, Infectious Diseases Department, Dron Hospital, Tourcoing 59200, France; agnesmeybeck{at}


Objectives Since February 2017, an increase of acute hepatitis A (AHA) cases has been notified in North of France. We aimed to report clinical and virological features of 49 cases treated in three hospitals in Lille European Metropolis (LEM).

Methods All adult patients treated for AHA in 3 LEM hospitals between 20 February and 5 July 2017 were included. Demographic characteristics, exposure risk factors to hepatitis A virus (HAV), AHA manifestations and concomitant sexually transmitted infections (STI) were retrospectively recorded.

Results Forty-nine cases of AHA were diagnosed among which 34 (69%) were hospitalised. Severe AHA occurred in 7 (14%) patients. The median age of cases was 36 years. All cases except 1 were men and 32 (65%) were identified as men having sex with men (MSM). Eleven (23%) patients were HIV-infected, 5 were under HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), 6 had a history of HIV postexposure prophylaxis and 19 had a history of at least one STI. Only three patients had received HAV vaccine. Proportion of patients tested for syphilis, chlamydial and gonococcal infections was 75% (18/24) in those seen by sexual health specialists and 21% (6/29) in those seen by other specialists. At least one concomitant STI was diagnosed in 13 out of 24 tested patients (54%). RT-PCR sequencing was available for 38 cases and confirmed co-circulation of 3 different strains of subgenotype IA (VRD 521 2016: n=24, RIVM-HAV16-090: n=13, V16-25801: n=1), already identified in several European countries.

Conclusions We are facing an outbreak of AHA among MSM in the North of France with a high rate of hospitalisation. Analysis of cases highlighted missed opportunities of vaccination and lack of concomitant STI screening. Awareness among healthcare providers and MSM should be increased and HAV vaccination promoted.

  • hepatitis A
  • gay men
  • epidemiology (clinical)

Statistics from


  • Handling editor Gwenda Hughes

  • Contributors AB and AM: analysed the data and wrote the manuscript. AK, SE and LB: contributed to the data collection. All authors contributed to the interpretation of the results and the final draft of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.