Hepatitis A outbreak leads to school vaccination session

Around 180 people associated with a secondary school in Ruthin will be offered Hepatitis A vaccination following a case of Hepatitis A in a pupil at the school.

The vaccination session for Year 7 pupils and teaching and cleaning staff at Ysgol Brynhyfryd will be held on Monday 22 January. 

There has been a substantial increase in Hepatitis A cases across North Wales since the beginning of 2017.

The school is co-operating fully with arrangements for the vaccination session, which is being undertaken by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

Mr Geraint Parry, Headteacher at Ysgol Brynhyfryd said: “We have been working closely with Health professionals to take the necessary steps to ensure the health and wellbeing of all our staff and pupils. We are closely monitoring the situation and will keep everyone informed of any developments".

Public Health Wales, with the environmental health department of Denbighshire County Council are continuing to investigate the source of the infection.

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

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 Thursday 18th January 2018