Hepatitis A outbreak leads to school vaccination session

Around 170 people associated with a primary school in Corwen will be offered Hepatitis A vaccination following an outbreak of the infection in the Denbighshire and South Gwynedd area.

The vaccination session for children attending Ysgol Caer Drewyn, their siblings and members of staff, will be held on Monday 18 December. 

There are now seven confirmed cases of Hepatitis A in the wider community, which includes three children that attend the school. The school is co-operating fully with arrangements for vaccination session, which is being undertaken by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

The outbreak control team do not believe that the infection was contracted at Ysgol Caer Drewyn. Public Health Wales, with the environmental health departments of Denbighshire County Council and Gwynedd Council, are continuing to investigate the source.

Vaccination at the school is being offered by as a precaution as Hepatitis A spreads easily between young children, who will often not have symptoms but can still transmit infection to other people.

There is no link between this outbreak and two outbreaks of Hepatitis A reported in the Rhyl area earlier this year.

Dr Christopher Johnson, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said: "Hepatitis A is a viral infection, usually short lived, that has unpleasant symptoms but is rarely serious. Children often only have a very mild illness or do not have symptoms at all.

"Symptoms can include flu-like illness such as tiredness, general aches and pains, headaches and fever, as well as loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pains, jaundice, very dark urine and itchy skin. 

"Good handwashing after using the toilet and before preparing or eating food is the best way to prevent the virus spreading.

"Children may pass the virus onto others without having symptoms so we are reminding parents to encourage good hand washing at all times."

People are advised to contact their own GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 if they have any concerns about their health or their child’s health. 

Hepatitis A vaccination is not routinely offered on the NHS as the infection is rare in the UK.

Further information about Hepatitis A is available on the Public Health Wales website at http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/43692

Posted on Friday 15th December 2017