EPIDEMIOLOGIC CHARACTERISTIC OF HEPATITIS B IN THE SPLITSKO-DALMATINSKA COUNTY
Summary. Epidemiologic characteristics of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in the Split-Dalmatia County and in Croatia as a whole from January 1, 1994 till December 31, 2003 were analyzed. The mean number of hepatitis B cases was 28 (mor- bidity rate 6.03‰) in the Split-Dalmatia County and 208 (morbidity rate 4.68‰) in Croatia. Over the last five years, there was a marked decrease in the incidence of hepatits B in the Split-Dalmatia County (morbidity rate 1.55‰), whereas its incidence at the national level showed a stable pattern (morbidity rate 4.49‰). In the Split-Dalmatia County, the majority of patients (57.51%) were aged 15–29, which could be attributed to risky sexual contacts and intravenous drug use. The male to female ratio was 2.1(188:93). There was no major incidence fluctuation according to months of year. The hepatitis B mortality rate was 0.24% (5/2079) in Croatia as a whole, whereas no case of HBV lethality was recorded in the Split-Dalmatia County. The significant decrease in the hepatitis B morbidity rate in the Split-Dalmatia County most probably resulted from the comprehensive measures of prevention, especially vaccination, the early introduction of the needle exchange program (1955–1996).