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Hepatitis A outbreak: 17 cases now confirmed at Ripon school

Hepatitis A outbreak: 17 cases now confirmed at Ripon school

Published by Lizzy McEllan at 3:37pm 25th June 2019.

A total of 17 cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed at Outwood Academy in Ripon.

Findings suggest the infection may have been passed through food in the canteen, according to Public Health England.

  • 17 cases of Hepatitis A have now been confirmed at Outwood Academy in Ripon
  • Findings so far suggest the infection may have been passed through food in the school canteen, according to Public Health England
  • Three further cases have been confirmed in the Ripon area - it is not known whether they are linked to the school
  • Eight cases were confirmed at Outwood Academy on Thursday 20 June
  • Hepatitis A is a viral infection which affects the liver - it is usually a mild illness, but can be more serious in adults if left untreated

Public Health England has issued a statement:

Dr Simon Padfield, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at PHE Yorkshire and the Humber, said:

“Following ongoing laboratory testing, we can confirm that a total of 17 cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed connected with Outwood Academy, Ripon.

“Investigations remain ongoing with our partners, but our findings to date suggest that Hepatitis A infection may have been passed through food eaten at the school canteen.

"The school has been advised on measures to reduce any further risk, including enhanced deep-cleaning, enhanced hand washing and as an additional precaution, the school has stopped serving cold food for this week. 

“We are also investigating an additional three cases of Hepatitis A confirmed in the Ripon area.

"The source of illness for these cases remains under investigation, and it is not yet known if they are linked to the outbreak connected with the school.

“Any health risk continues to be low.

"Those affected are being treated and are recovering. Hepatitis A is usually a mild illness, though it can be more serious in adults, if left untreated. 

“Those affected began to experience symptoms between 11 and 20 June.

"Reports of new cases of illness are now beginning to show signs of slowing down, although laboratory testing of further possible cases continues and so additional cases may be confirmed in the following weeks.

GPs in North Yorkshire have been asked to remain vigilant to further cases.

"Families and staff at the school have been updated on our investigations and the measures put in place and have been asked to follow strict hand hygiene measures to prevent any person to person spread.

"The school continues to cooperate fully in supporting our investigations.”

Advice from Public Health England:

 

  • Hepatitis A is a viral infection which affects the liver and is a different disease from Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

  • Hepatitis A is passed from person to person by eating food or drinking water containing the virus. The virus can spread easily within families and where people live closely together. To reduce the spread of the illness, it is very important to wash your hands after going to the toilet and/or before 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, visit this NHS website page.
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