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In the European Union (EU), the overall incidence of hepatitis A has decreased over the last 10 years from 15.1 per 100,000 population in 1996 to 3.9 per 100,000 in 2006. However, reduction in circulation of HAV leads to decreased acquisition of immunity and, in the absence of universal vaccination, an accumulation of susceptible individuals. The impact of increasing susceptibility of the general population on the risk for outbreaks is clearly illustrated in independent outbreaks in Czech Republic, Latvia and Slovakia in 2008, described in three of the articles published in this week’s issue of Eurosurveillance.


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