[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
April 18, 1977

Antibody to Hepatitis A Antigen in Institutionalized Mentally Retarded Patients

JAMA. 1977;237(16):1702-1705. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270430044016

. Institutionalized patients with Down syndrome and matched controls with other causes of mental retardation were tested by immune adherence hemagglutination for the presence of antibody to hepatitis A antigen (antiHA). Altogether 75.1% (175 of 233) exhibited presence of anti-HA, with no differences by sex or age. Patients reactive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) or its antibody (anti-HBs) were reactive for anti-HA significantly more frequently than those with a negative reaction for these markers. In contrast to serologic markers of hepatitis type B, prevalence of anti-HA does not depend on the cause of mental retardation or on the age at primary infection. The rate of anti-HA positivity was found to be closely correlated with duration of institutionalization. The study confirmed that many closed institutions for the mentally retarded are hyperendemic for hepatitis type A and that formation of anti-HA is not greatly affected by either immune deficiency or immune immaturity.

(JAMA 237:1702-1705, 1977)