Hepatitis A: OUTBREAK hits UK school – what are the signs and symptoms and are you at risk
Hepatitis A is not very common in the UK but concerns have been raised after an incident at Middleham primary school in North Yorkshire. The Public Health England (PHE) said a child at the school had fallen ill due to contracting hepatitis A after an outbreak of the virus in a nearby town. Vaccinations had been offered as a means of precaution. PHE said the sources of the illness in the area remains under investigation.
Hepatitis A can spread easily within families and where people live closely together.
The virus is passed out in the faeces so it is important for person to wash their hands after using the toilet or preparing food.
It’s an infectious disease of the liver and many cases have few or no symptoms. However, noticing clay-coloured bowel movements could mean you are at risk.
Normal stools can vary in shades of brown which is mostly down to a person’s diet. Pale coloured stools are not normal and could be a sign of hepatitis A.
Other symptoms of hepatitis A:
- Sudden nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Loss of appetite
- Low-grade fever
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
Doctor Suzanne Coles from PHE Yorkshire and the Humber said: “Parents of children at the schools where vaccination is to be offered have been informed of the recent case at Middleham Primary School and symptoms of hepatitis A so they can be alert to signs of the infection,” she said.
A precautionary advice was issued to anyone who ate So! Bar and Eats in Ripon between 8 and 23 June. “Anyone developing symptoms should contact their GP or NHS 111 for advice,” said Coles.
It’s uncommon in the UK, but certain groups are at increased risk
The NHS said: “Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus that’s spread in the poo of an infected person.
“It’s uncommon in the UK, but certain groups are at increased risk. This includes travellers to parts of the world with poor levels of sanitation, men who have had sex with men, and people who inject drugs.
“Hepatitis A can be unpleasant, but it’s not usually serious and most people make a full recovery within a couple of months.”
Anyone with suspected hepatitis A infection should not attend school or work until their doctor advises their return.
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