Aim: The aim of this study was to identify and compare the pattern of acute viral hepatitis in two regions of Iran.
Background: The epidemiological pattern of acute hepatitis varies across the Globe depending on geographic region, health status, socioeconomic conditions and differences in exposure to etiological factors.
Patients and methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out among 357 cases of acute viral hepatitis referring to the hepatitis centers in Tehran (n = 109) and Zahedan (n = 248) during 2003-2004. All patients were tested against Anti-HAV IgM, HBsAg, HCV and HDV antibody by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Specific viral cause of hepatitis and demographic characteristics of patients were compared between the two populations.
Results: Study participants in Zahedan were significantly younger than those in Tehran (11.4±9.63 years vs. 31.0±10.76; P< 0.05). The proportion of male participants in Tehran was considerably higher compared to Zahedan (86.2% vs. 52%; P< 0.05). In Tehran, HBV (62%) and HCV (15%) were the most frequent type of hepatitis, while in Zahedan, HAV (72%) and HBV (18%) were the most common type of hepatitis.Conclusion: The present study showed a discrepancy in morbidity pattern of acute hepatitis between the two regions of Iran. This variability may be due to differences in socioeconomic status and environmental risk factors for the acquisition of the different types of hepatitis. Therefore, regional information about viral hepatitis is needed in order to direct and evaluate prevention and control activities.