Viral hepatitis A is still common in Italy, especially in Southern regions. In this study, a metapopulation model for hepatitis A virus (HAV) transmission is proposed and analyzed. Analytical results on the asymptotic and transient behaviors of the system are carried out. Based on the available Italian movement data, a national spatial contact matrix at the regional level, which could be used for new studies on the transmission dynamics of other infectious diseases, is derived for modeling fluxes of individuals. Despite the small number of fitted parameters, model simulations are in good agreement with the observed average HAV incidence in all regions. Our results suggest that the mass vaccination program introduced in one Italian region only (Puglia, the one with the highest endemicity level) could have played a role in the decline of HAV incidence in the country as a whole. The only notable exception is represented by Campania, a Southern region showing a high endemicity level, which is not substantially affected by HAV dynamics in Puglia. Finally, our results highlight that the continuation of the vaccination campaign in Puglia would have a relevant impact in decreasing long-term HAV prevalence, especially in Southern Italy.

Spatiotemporal dynamics of viral hepatitis A in Italy

Ajelli, Marco;Fumanelli, Laura;Merler, Stefano
2011

Abstract

Viral hepatitis A is still common in Italy, especially in Southern regions. In this study, a metapopulation model for hepatitis A virus (HAV) transmission is proposed and analyzed. Analytical results on the asymptotic and transient behaviors of the system are carried out. Based on the available Italian movement data, a national spatial contact matrix at the regional level, which could be used for new studies on the transmission dynamics of other infectious diseases, is derived for modeling fluxes of individuals. Despite the small number of fitted parameters, model simulations are in good agreement with the observed average HAV incidence in all regions. Our results suggest that the mass vaccination program introduced in one Italian region only (Puglia, the one with the highest endemicity level) could have played a role in the decline of HAV incidence in the country as a whole. The only notable exception is represented by Campania, a Southern region showing a high endemicity level, which is not substantially affected by HAV dynamics in Puglia. Finally, our results highlight that the continuation of the vaccination campaign in Puglia would have a relevant impact in decreasing long-term HAV prevalence, especially in Southern Italy.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11582/13608
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