Hepatitis A outbreak at Doncaster primary school
A vaccination programme is underway at a Doncaster primary school after an outbreak of Hepatitis A.
Two children at Carr Lodge Academy in Balby have recently contracted the viral infection, with both youngsters said to be recovering.
Public Health England have reassured parents of children at the school and staff members that any health risk is low, but are offering the Hepatitis A vaccine to those who have been in closest contact with the cases to reduce the risk of further transmission.
Dr Simon Padfield, consultant in communicable disease control at PHE Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “We can confirm that two cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed recently in children at a Doncaster primary school. Those affected are being treated, are recovering and are no longer infectious.
“Hepatitis A is a viral infection which affects the liver. It is most often seen in children and young adults and is a different disease from Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
“Parents of children at the school, and staff members, have been informed about the cases and reassured that any health risk is low. Hepatitis A is usually a mild illness in children, who often don’t show any symptoms, though they can pass on the infection to others.
“The infection can however, be more serious if left untreated and in adults, so it’s important we take the necessary precautionary steps to try and prevent further cases. To reduce the risk of further transmission of the virus in school, NHS nurses will be offering the Hepatitis A vaccine in school, to children and staff who have been in closest contact with the cases.
“Families and staff at the school have been provided with information on signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A and have been asked to follow strict hand hygiene measures.”
Health advice from Public Health England says Hepatitis A can spread easily within families and where people live closely together, and can be passed from person to person by eating food or drinking water containing the virus.
The virus is passed out in the faeces of an infected person and so it is very important to wash your hands after going to the toilet and/or preparing food.
The symptoms of Hepatitis A are similar to flu, including mild fever, joint and muscle pain, feeling and being sick, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and stomach pain.
This can be followed by jaundice - yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes - dark-coloured urine and itchy skin. Not everyone infected will have all these symptoms.
Anyone with suspected hepatitis A infection should not attend school or work until their doctor advises return. This is usually for a period of one week.
For more information on hepatitis A go to www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hepatitis-A/Pages/Introduction.aspx.